Topic Archives: Meeting Recaps
Earlier this month, the Quantified Self Dublin group got together for an engaging evening of talks on gut health by members of the local medical community.
Francesco Polito, a nutritional therapist, talked about the markers that are found in a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA). This is a test that he has his clients get to understand the current state of their gut. Francisco walked through the test results, explaining what each marker represented and what it could mean if it is out of range. It’s an incredibly fascinating talk and I will be writing more about it in-depth next week. In the meantime, you can watch a video of the talk and review his slides, which contain an actual CDSA report from one of his clients.
A Gut Hormone Primer
Natasha Kapoor, a researcher at University College Dublin, gave a primer on hormones in the gut. She explained the relationship that ghrelin has with appetite. Higher ghrelin levels correspond with increased hunger. This is concerning, since lack of sleep can cause ghrelin to rise, meaning that carrying a sleep debt could induce you to eat more than you otherwise would. It may follow, then, to try and manipulate ghrelin levels to help control appetite. However, clinical attempts to lower ghrelin levels are not advised since it is a complex hormone involved in more than just hunger, such as cardiovascular function, sleep and memory.
Still, there are other hormones that play a role in appetite. Natasha described three hormones that have the opposite effect as ghrelin, making you feel full while eating a meal: cholecystokinin, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. She is currently recruiting subjects for a study on whether these hormones could be manipulated to control appetite through a “gut hormone infusion” method. As Natasha explains in the video below, there are more mundane ways of taking advantage of these hormones to reach satiety quicker, such as eating your food in a certain order (hint: start with the protein portion).
If you are interested in exploring more about the microbiome, we’ve had a number of interesting Show&Tell talks on gut health:
- Larry Smarr has one of the most thoroughly tracked microbiomes on the planet
- Ari Meisel reversed the symptoms of his Crohn’s disease.
- Richard Sprague looked at the effects of cholesterol on his microbiome.
- Mark Moschel picked up a parasite while traveling and talks about the process of healing his gut.
- Karl Heilbron looked at whether probiotics had an impact on his Ubiome tests.
You can meet Justin and other members of QS Dublin at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
Recently, the Quantified Self community in Belfast came together to learn from an Olympic cyclist on how he used personal data to inform his training.
I spoke to Jonathan Bloomfield, QS Belfast’s organizer about how the evening went. Jonny has been running the group since 2015 and was happy to be hosted by Novosco, a tech firm. The speaker that evening was David McCann, a former database programmer turned Olympic cyclist. McCann spoke about how personal data informed his training and how he uses it as a coach at the SCRAM center in Lisburn. He brought in the bike trainer and sensors that he uses to monitor his performance.
After McCann’s presentation, a person at the meetup jumped on the bike (since he was wearing a cycling jersey, I think he had a couple days notice) and everyone was given a live demonstration of a ramp test with various performance and biometrics projected on a monitor, such as lactate and heart rate levels.
Jonny said that the live demonstration was a hit with the people there. If you are interested in what people have been learning from their cycling data, there have been many fascinating QS Talks on the subject:
Sky Christopherson – Quantified Self and the London Olympics
Dave Miller – Cycling Power Meter Data
Steve Dean – Project Faster: Tracking to Improve Cycling Performance
Arlene Ducao – This is Your Brain on Bike
Dave Miller – VO2Max
If you live in the Belfast area, you can find out about the next QS Belfast event by joining their meetup group. As an organizer, Jonny works to make his meetups a place for people to relax, be comfortable and have a good time. The rest of us can follow the group on Twitter.
Let’s get together at QS17!
You can meet Jonny and other members of QS Belfast at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
Last week the QS Bay Area group got together for an evening of Show&Tell talks at the Institute For The Future in Palo Alto. There were talks on gut health, time management, statistics and a self-experimentation lab.
The first talk was from Karl Heilbron about a simple experiment where he supplemented his diet with probiotics and had uBiome samples taken before and after. He was surprised to learn that the probiotics had little to no effect. He decided that, for now, it didn’t make sense to keep paying for them.
What I love about this project is how it reflects how people are using their data in their lives. Karl didn’t prove that probiotics don’t have an impact. He gathered some data, and it didn’t show enough evidence to justify continued taking of the supplement.
Eric Mann spoke about his attempt to manage his work time better. He used a series of scripts to get his calendar data into Excel and created a dashboard that gave him insight into where he’s spending his time, with whom, and whether it’s helping with his work goals.
Eric J. Daza is a biostatistician how helps researchers design their studies and analyze their data, so it was interesting to hear his perspective on principles for analyzing the smaller data sets that make up QS data.
The last talk came from Mike Snyder, one of the most interesting and innovative scientists currently using self-collected data to make new discoveries. A recently published paper out of Mike’s lab: Tracking Physiomes and Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information, by Xiao Li, Jessilyn Dunn, and Denis Salins, uses two years of Mike’s extremely detailed self-tracking data (backed up with group research) to show how heart rate data can predict sickness before symptoms appear.
If you live in the Bay Area and want to know when the next QS event is happening, join the group on Meetup!
Join us at QS17
Our next conference is June 17-18 in Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets. We can’t wait to see you there.
Today, we have a guest post from Justin Lawler, an organizer for the active and excellent Quantified Self group in Dublin, about a recent meetup. If you are a QS organizer, feel free to contact me about writing a recap of one of your events. -Steven
Recently, the Dublin Quantified Self meetup group gathered at the Dublin Science Gallery where Jenn Ryan presented the results from a recent survey on people’s motivations for tracking. We had an engaged group of people with health and wellness backgrounds, students, and the merely curious to discuss the current state of Quantified Self and how it’s impacting health.
Quantified Survey & The Potential of Personal Data in Healthcare
Jenn carried out the survey as part of her MSc thesis at University College Galway, trying to understand the motivations of those that track. A fitness instructor, Jenn is very conscious of public health and is always looking for new tools she can use with clients.
Some key insights from the survey:
- A wide range of tools being used – from fitness trackers to phone apps to pen & paper.
- Motivations for self-tracking included fitness goals, to tackling chronic diseases to self-knowledge & curiosity.
- People found that the process of self-tracking was very useful for motivating behaviour change.
- People found that once they started tracking biometrics, they didn’t stop once it became a habit.
- People are not too concerned about the confidentiality of the data.
- Overall people are happy with the tools we have.
Some charts from the survey:
“It is like when you are driving a car and you see the fuel gauge. If you couldn’t see the fuel gauge you would just drive on, but because you see it, you say ‘oh I am running low on fuel’ so I suppose if you see your weight going up or down, you can take action” -Survey Participant
Since survey responders were from the QS community, it wasn’t a diverse/cross-population sample. The respondents were high socio-economic status, educated, self-driven & curious. In other words, early adopters. There is still plenty of room for deeper analysis into self-tracking in wider population groups [See this Pew Research study for a view of the general public in the U.S. -Steven]
Jenn notes that there is huge room for growth as wearable trackers move to the early majority stage, as tools become more passive, easier to use and give more useful actionable insights. The Quantified Self movement will play a big part in the future of healthcare, as well as, efforts like the Institute of Medicine’s Learning Healthcare System which help healthcare iterate to provide better care.
Here is Jenn’s full presentation from the event:
You can meet Justin and other QS Dubliners at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s a perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, debating the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are only a few discounted tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
Today’s post comes to us from PF Anderson, Emerging Technologies Informationist for the Health Sciences, University of Michigan and a member of the QS Ann Arbor meetup group. It first appeared on her excellent Emerging Technologies Librarian blog and we’re happy to republish it here.
Last week, I felt really lucky that I was able to make it to the first Quantified Self Meetup of the New Year (thanks to Nancy Gilby for the ride!). This session was held at the UMSI Entrepreneurship Center. Roughly ten people came, and I’m not sharing names even though they said I could because I’m not sure I got the names down right. The group included a wide range of types of people: corporate folk, students, entrepreneurs, faculty, alumni, and independents. The conversation was fast, dynamic, and overlapping, so I couldn’t catch everything. I will talk about what I did catch of the IDEAS and the GADGETS. That’s what’s really fun, eh?
What the Meetup group page SAYS they are interested in (as a sampling) is pretty extensive.
“Aging in Place Technology • Behavior change and monitoring • Caregiving of digital patients • Chemical Body Load Counts • Citizen science• Digitizing Body Info • Medical Self-Diagnostics • Lifelogging• Location tracking • Non-invasive Probes• Mindfulness and wisdom tracking • Parenting through monitoring/ tracking • Personal Genome Sequencing • Psychological Self-Assessments • Risks/Legal Rights/Duties • Self Experimentation • Sharing Health Records • Wearable Sensemaking”
What’s even more interesting is what people said they were interested in as they went around the table.
- aging population
- big data
- data visualization
- legal advice
- patient communities
- personal genomics
- sleep tracking
The St. Louis QS meetup group just checked in with a recap of their fifth show&tell meetup. They’ve been growing fast, with now over 100 members in their community and are exploring fun new ways to encourage and inspire their group.
Last week, about 20 members got together to watch and discuss some of their favorite QS show&tell talks. After some discussion, they selected three talks:
The St. Louis QS group is also taking an active part in turning their experience and enthusiasm for data collection into projects for their local community. Last month, they participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking and proposed two QS-themed projects that they are currently developing:
1. A context-sensitive Geo-Polling app/initiative that would allow communities to become aware of how people feel in various areas (e.g. happiness, safety, etc.).
2. A Personal Environmental Tracker (PET) that would allow St. Louis citizens to keep tabs, not only on their own environmental impact, but also on the community as a whole in an engaging way.
(If you are interested in finding out more and participating in either of these projects at any level, you can join the meetup and get in touch with the organizers.)
Thanks to St. Louis QS Organizer William Dahl for sending in a great recap of their meetup. If you’re in the St. Louis area, we invite you to join the group!
Today’s Tidings dispatch is from Daniel Gartenberg, co-organizer of the Washington DC meetup group. Read below to hear about their recent meetup. It sounds like a great time and we can’t wait to share the videos from these interesting talks.
We had our biggest meetup yet at 1776 – a start-up hub located in the heart of our nations capital. At the meetup there were three great talks, fun socializing over sandwiches, and lively QS Discussions. We had three wonderful talks:
James Norris – serial entrepreneur and avid self-experimenter gave a captivating talk about tracking his “firsts”. This included everything from his first kiss to his first time meditating on a train. One thing that James found was that traveling was one of the key factors that impacted his “firsts” – but only up to a limit – where after some time traveling, there are diminishing returns to “firsts”.
Next, Daniel Gartenberg gave a talk on his new efforts to evaluate and improve sleep. He described a study that he is conducting with the QS community where participants can receive $50 for tracking 2 weeks of their sleep data. Some participants will even have the opportunity to use a Hexoskin, actiwatch, and galaxy gear. However, users must have an iPhone and be willing to take 10 minutes out of their day for cognitive testing. Please contact Daniel Gartenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in the study.
Finally, Daniel Martinez showed off an amazing visualization of more than 1800 days of his sleep data that he calculated using pencil and paper and inputting the data into Mathemetica software. Daniel created a new tool for evaluating sleep, which included categorizing time as “up and at em”, dozing, sleeping, and awake while trying to sleep. Using these categories he presented visualizations of sleep and showed a bimodal distribution in his bedtime and a new way to evaluate his sleep quality.
If you’re in the Washington, DC area we invite you to join this great meetup group!
We’ve just heard from Camille Nicodemus about the sixth Auckland, New Zealand QS Show&Tell held on July 15, 2014 . Since Auckland is still getting off the ground they’re currently hosting about 6-8 people at the meetup, where they discuss their personal tracking projects in a open round-table format. They have been getting some recognition in their area as a camera crew filmed one of their previous meetups for an upcoming feature in a local current affairs TV program.
It’s great to see such a wonderful diversity of projects and experiments from the QS Aukland community. Members are actively engaged in citizen science projects, oxygen tracking, accountability groups, sleep tracking, tracking the effect of cold showers on metabolism, and habit tracking. The groups is also discussing a variety of tools and applications they’re using and exploring. These include:
- XY Leap - Exercise genomics
- Promethease- Literature retrieval system that builds a personal DNA report.
- Withings scale
- Cure Together (now part of 23 and me)
- Misfit Shine - Activity tracker.
- Lift App - Habit tracking
- MyFitnessPal - Diet and exercise tracking
If you’re in the Auckland area we invite you to join this great QS Meetup and share your story!
Tidings are notes, recaps, and insights from our wonderful worldwide network of QS Show&Tell meetup groups. If you’re organizing a group and have something to share let us know!
Our friends in Southern Oregon had their 3rd Quantified Self meeting yesterday at Rogue Hack Lab, a makerspace in Medford, Oregon. Dr. Dawn Lemanne, who organized the meeting, recorded the event on her mobile, and we’ll post it as soon as it arrives.
One especially interesting note from this meeting: We hear from Dr. Lemanne that the attendees had a chance to play with the Lapka personal environmental monitor. I’ve enjoyed the Lapka marketing campaign very much, under the impression it was a hoax. Therefore, I take its appearance at a QS show&tell to be a bit of real news. When we check the Lapka Environmental Map for July 15, 2014, we find several measurements recorded in Medford during the QS meeting. Not incontrovertible evidence, perhaps, but evidence nonetheless!
Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Lemanne for sending in this report. (Readers interested in self-tracking, physical activity, and cancer may appreciate reading her recent paper in Oncology: “The Role of Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, Recovery, and Survivorship.”)
This guest post comes to us from Mark Moschel and Eugene Granovsky, the co-organizers of the Chicago Quantified Self meetup group. At their recent meetup on March 26, 2014 they had three great talks from community members. If you live in the Chicago area why not join the group!
Dan Abreu on GeoTracking
Dan travels a lot. I mean… a LOT! He stepped through an airport well over 300 times in 2012. He started documenting his travel a few years back and has used a variety of tools since: TripIt, Track My Life (discontinued), Google Latitude (discontinued), QStartz, and myTracks. During that time, his technique for tracking evolved and gained complexity. He’s now able to develop very detailed maps of his trips (see below). What has he learned from all this? “Not much” he said. However, he enjoys the practice and consistency of it and is excited to continue finding more uses for this data in the future.
Zak Boswell on Sleep
Like many of us, Zak was on a very inconsistent sleep schedule for most of his life and would often stay up too late. However, unlike many of us, Zak was experiencing severe fatigue during the day. In the span of just a couple years, he had 4 car accidents from falling asleep at the wheel (in two, his car was totaled). Realizing this was a problem, he started exploring traditional solutions. He saw a handful of doctors and participated in a very expensive (and ineffective) sleep study. During this time, he also started tracking his sleep and decided to go to bed at a consistent time each day (around midnight). In the data, he saw his sleep quality beginning to improve. He also stopped falling asleep during the day. At first, he struggled with the change, but he’s since changed his whole philosophy and loves it. You can view Zak’s presentation here [PDF].
Ovetta Sampson on how tracking helped her become an Ironman (or “The science of Faith”)
Let’s start with the end on this one. Here’s what Ovetta accomplished: 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run – all in under 17 hours. Wow! Even more impressive is that she was never an athlete growing up and weighed 270 lbs in 2012. In just a year, she turned a seemingly impossible goal into a real accomplishment. How? She found faith in her data. “Tracking data helped me change my behavior” she said. By tracking her times, weight, speed, and distance, a few things happened: 1) she quickly saw progress and was motivated to keep going, 2) she became competitive with herself, always trying to beat her last score, and 3) she could ignore the thoughts in her mind. As she said, “you have to trust something and the mind is not to be trusted. Trust the data.” Her thoughts kept telling her to quit, but the data proved she was doing well. She didn’t quit and now she’s an Ironman. You can view Ovetta’s presentation here [PowerPoint].
For those of you in the Chicago area Elmhurst Art Museum is hosting a new exhibit called “Lifeloggers: Chronicling the Everyday.” Check it out here.