QS Europe 2013 Conference Preview: Sara Riggare

February 8, 2013

The second QS European 2013 Conference is coming up. We run our QS global meetings as “carefully curated unconferences,” meaning that we make the program out of ideas and suggestions from the registrants, with a lot of thoughtful back-and-forth in advance.  We’re starting to get the point where we can give previews of the talks we’ll have in Amsterdam in May. Today we’re happy to share a preview from Sara Riggare.

Sara RiggareSara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2003 when she was just 32. Parkinson’s is usually diagnosed later in life. After learning she had Parkinson’s, Sara used her engineering and passion for measurement to better understand her disease.

One of the most well-known symptoms of Parkinson’s is shaking of the hands (tremor), but Sara says there are other manifestations that make life interesting, including balance problems and reduced mobility. Sara, like most Parkinson’s patients combats these symptoms with a mix of treatments:

I personally take six different prescribed drugs, six times a day, in six different combinations with six different time intervals.

In her Show & Tell in Amsterdam, Sara will discuss tracking experiments she’s done to better understand how her disease. For example, Sara was inspired by another PhD student’s work using finger taping tests to study treatment effectiveness for patients with advanced Parkinson’s. She was curious about how her own medication regimen was affecting her movement speed throughout the day. So she used a similar finger tapping task to track her stiffness and movement speed.

SaraRiggare_TrackingPDThe graph above shows data gathered by Sara when she tested her finger tapping speed with her left and right hands.  She also included a control, her husband, in order to understand differences between herself and someone without Parkinsons’s. Sara noticed that her movement speed varies throughout the day and correlates with her medication. Sara will talk about this self-tracking experiment and others she tried as she moved from subjective tracking to more objective and structured approaches to understanding her symptoms and treatments.

The Quantified Self European Conference will be held in Amsterdam on May 11th & 12th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. If you’re attending the conference and want to present your self-tracking project please let us know.

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