Topic Archives: QS18

Erica Forzani: Understanding My Pregnancy

Following closely behind Whitney’s pregnancy project, it is fitting to share Erica Forzani’s pregnancy tracking project that can inspire any human who has carried a human in her belly. In addition to just being pregnant and dealing with the work involved with growing a human, Erica tracked her blood glucose levels, physical dimensions, weight, resting metabolic rate, activity, blood pressure and diet throughout her pregnancy to argue many pregnancy and breastfeeding myths. There are a lot of them and her diligent work proves many false.

I’m not quite sure what it is, but for some reason, people love to give pregnant women and women with babies/kids feedback about whatever they are doing. Be it positive or negative, some people just can’t help offering some bit of information they are observing. Perhaps it is because, procreating is somehow instinctively shared among humankind, so people somehow feel they have a piece-in-the-game with the raising of any little being…whatever it is, Erica’s project politely and factually stomps out many of the myths people often hear while carrying a human.

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s 2018 Quantified Self Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

 

 

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Whitney E. Boesel: Cholesterol Variability: Hours, Days, And My Ovulatory Cycle (Part II)

After conceiving a beautiful baby girl, Whitney E. Boesel participated in the Bloodtester’s Project - a group of self-trackers conducting their own experiments to better understand their cholesterol together. After having her baby, Whitney learned that her cholesterol was unusually high and she became curious to understand what the cause was. She presented her findings, Cholesterol Variability: Hours, Days, And My Ovulatory Cycle, at the QS CVD Symposium earlier this year. 

Given that one side of Whitney’s family genetics has very high cholesterol, she wondered if it was finally time she had to stop eating so much cheese, or if rather, it was simply high due to having a baby. Using an at home cholesterol testing device (Cardiochek), she decided to test a fairly unusual hypothesis: if she does absolutely nothing, will her cholesterol get better all by itself? After getting more cholesterol data points ever recorded of a woman post-birth, she happily discovers that her cholesterol did just get better as her body’s hormones shifted back to her own. She continues to track her cholesterol among other things and we look forward to hear what she learns next.

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s Quantified Self 2018 Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

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Whitney E. Boesel: My Numbers Sucked, But I Made This Baby Anyway (Part 1)

Despite the fact that our human existence relies on pregnant women and birth, there is surprisingly very little understood when a woman doesn’t fall within the “averages” and the “knowns.” We are all so different, and any woman knows that her body at some point will most likely not fall within the “average” range and when that happens, we must investigate. For humankind depends on this investigation.

Whitney E. Boesel, a scientist by trade and QS’er by life fortunately has been tracking her own magical body both pre and post pregnancy and sharing her results with Quantified Self along the way. So, this is a two part post: pre-pregnancy and the next one will share a post-pregnancy discovery.

Whitney wanted to have a baby and learned that she was “too late” to have children. However, by disregarding the average, she started tracking her AMH (and other hormones) as a result, but the most important things she learned had nothing to do with endocrinology. In her project, My Numbers Sucked, But I Made This Baby Anyway, Whitney discusses the abnormally low numbers and how she managed to conceive and give birth to a very healthy baby despite all of the odds against her.

Whitney shares her project My Numbers Sucked, But I Made This Baby Anyway at QS17 in Amsterdam

Whitney shares her project My Numbers Sucked, But I Made This Baby Anyway at QS17 in Amsterdam

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We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s Quantified Self 2018 Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

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Vivienne Ming: Tracking My Son’s Diabetes

Vivienne Ming is an accomplished neuroscientist and an entrepreneur, however this project is not about her kick-ass professional work, instead, it’s deeply personal about how she manages her son’s diabetes. Vivienne presented her project, Tracking My Son’s Diabetes at the 2013 QS Global Conference.

When Vivienne’s not conducting research or working on new ideas she’s busy taking care of her son, Felix. Two years prior Felix was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Vivienne and her partner tackled his diagnosis head on and started tracking everything they could. In this talk, Vivienne learns through tracking her son’s heart rate and blood sugar constantly that stress is a factor of his blood sugar level peaks. She explains what they’re learning together about tracking her son’s diabetes.

Vivienne Ming presents her talk at the 2013 QS Global Conference

Vivienne Ming presents her talk at the 2013 QS Global Conference

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s Quantified Self 2018 Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

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Ilyse Magy: Know Thy Cycle, Know Thyself

Women are increasingly (albeit slowly) taking more control in work, politics, life and society. However, unfortunately, being a woman means one has to consistently work extra hard to understand and know her own body to stay in control, because, unfortunately according to the laws of many governments and society-at-large, her body isn’t truly hers.  At 2015 Quantified Self Conference & EXPO, Ilyse Magy presented a fabulous talk, Know Thy Cycle, Know Thyself, that focuses on her recent learnings of her body and menstrual cycle, inspired by a MUST READ book for every female: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Ilyse Magy talks about how the author, Toni Weschler took the mystery out of the menstrual cycle with her book. By tracking certain metrics daily, Ilyse learned why her body is doing what it’s doing and can then conduct her sexual and emotional activity accordingly.

Ilyse Magy presents Know Thy Cycle, Know Thyself at the 2015 Quantified Self Conference. @ilyseiris

Ilyse Magy presents Know Thy Cycle, Know Thyself at the 2015 Quantified Self Conference. @ilyseiris

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Tracking Our Senses: Elliot Hedman

Another thoughtful project that studies the human’s physiological response to music is one by Elliott Hedman who studied himself and others’ physiological measurements during a classical concert.

In addition to tracking himself and others with EDA sensors, Elliott also videotaped the sensors to track where in the music, people’s sensors were triggered and shifted. He learned that the transitions from loud to quiet or the reverse triggered everyone’s sympathetic nervous system. He learned that people may have a different reaction to familiar sounds, because when a xylophone was played, Hedman was the only one triggered. He assumes he was moved because he used to play the xylophone when he was a kid.

Elliot speaks to the benefits of being less quantitative and more qualitative when collecting data, and less “self-centric” and more “community-centric” when analyzing.

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s Quantified Self 2018 Conference in Portland on September 22-23. We have only  a handful of discount tickets left. Register here.

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Using Freestyle Libre To See How Stress Effects My Blood Glucose Levels

Justin Lawler, the organizer of Quantified Self Dublin, has been doing some interesting self-studies about how various changes in his life affect his blood glucose levels. Blood glucose is typically tracked as part of diabetes care, and there are some excellent emerging tools for convenient tracking without doing finger stick tests. (Although these systems are not yet accessible everywhere without a doctor’s prescription, we’ve seen them more and more often in Quantified Self projects over the last few years.)

In a recent post, Justin outlined some of his latest projects and discoveries. Among the most interesting findings was the clear relation between psychological stress and blood glucose spikes. For instance, this chart that covers the time he was giving a talk at last year’s Quantified Self conference in Amsterdam.

“My worst data point by far,” Justin writes, is when I’ve been most stressed—giving a talk at the Quantified Self Europe Conference.” You can see his graph below, which shows his blood glucose spanning the time of his talk.

Lawler-Stress-Glucose-2

For Justin’s full account, see his excellent Medium post: Continuous Glucose Monitoring — The First Four Weeks.

You can hear Justin talk about his work and learn more about how to track your own blood glucose levels at QS18: The Quantified Self Conference, which will be held on September 22/23 in Portland, Oregon. There are currently 10 tickets left at the early registration price ($325), so please sign up soon if you want to come.

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Tracking and The Brain: Joost Plattel

Joost Plattel studies chemistry and loves experiments. He discovered while running experiments on himself that the simple act of tracking had a profound affect on how his brain functions. In this talk, Fitting Mental ModelsJoost shares some of those discoveries.

During the last three years of tracking his food, activity, and productivity, Joost noticed his brain functioning differently. For example, when he is actively tracking his food, his brain retains what he ate all week. When he isn’t tracking, he doesn’t have the same recall.

Do you notice the same mental adaptation when tracking? Come share your experience with us at QS18 in Portland on September 22-23! Register here.

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Tracking Life: Mark Krynsky

Following Dana Greenfield’s post about her project Leaning Into Grief, it feels fitting to share Mark Krynsky‘s project that contemplates our own mortality digitally. How will our digital lives be archived after we die? (Spoil alert: we are all going to die).

Mark Krynsky started a blog about five years ago and began live-streaming. Having his data in various places online, he tried to aggregate his social data into a single timeline. He eventually wondered about the future of his data. What’s going to happen to it after he dies? Mark discusses digital preservation and how he created an action plan for his digital data after his death.

After presenting this talk in 2013, Mark has since launched a website specifically for this called Digital Legacy Management. The site provides information on managing personal digital data for many different aspects of one’s life, including some of the following topics:

  • Organize and backup personal data
  • Provide ways to share photos and videos privately with friends and loved ones
  • Protect identity and limit ability to be hacked
  • Backup social media account data
  • Setup and establish how you want your social media accounts treated when you die

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s 2018 Quantified Self Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

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Tracking Grief: Dana Greenfield

As we’ve been thinking about mood lately–tracking it, nudging it and even reversing it, here’s a project that contemplates one experience that accumulates all moods – mourning. For anyone who has experienced grief and mourning, grab your tissues; and if you haven’t yet had the profound experience, grab a pen and take notes. I wish had this project in the back of my head when I lost my dad 11 years ago.

Dana Greenfield shared her beautiful project Leaning into Grief at a Quantified Self Conference in Amsterdam.  Dana’s project is a timeless tracking experience that inspires us to focus on the little things in life, because it is in those tiny details (as small as a Q-tip) where experience, relation, and life really show up and matter.

Dana Greenfield’s mom was a surgeon, professor, researcher, entrepreneur, blogger, tennis player, and a mentor to many medical students. Unexpectedly, she passed away in February, 2014.

Dana felt a need to hold on to what she was feeling and experiencing. When she came upon something that reminded her of her mother, she logged her thoughts and feelings using various tools (pen/paper, flickr, googlesheets). Her tracking became so specific and varied that she designed a tracking system to better understand her own grief and the role her mother continues to play in her life. Dana structured a logging form to identify multiple moods, because she found that with grieving, she could feel sad, nostalgic and also happy at the same time. She often found herself feeling what she called “warmed” which she identified meaning both “fond” and “grateful.”

With tracking her grief, Dana learns that her mother’s effect in her life continues to morph even after her death. By thinking and remembering her, Dana’s mother remains a big part of her life and continues to have a great impact. She says, “So far, each writing and logging is a reading enabling just a moment of interpersonal and intergenerational exchange that remains far more malleable, and full of potential, therefore, meaningful than the memorabilia on the shelf or in the spreadsheet.”

We hope you can join us to share your learnings from a project, or simply be inspired at this year’s 2018 Quantified Self Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.

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