2021-09-09 Self-Research Chat

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Things we talked about
Date 2021/09/09
Tools One Button Tracker
Topics EEG (Electroencephalogram), HRV (Heart Rate Variability), Respiration, Healthcare professionals and self research

Zoom video chat link: https://zoom.us/j/196519106 Passcode: 922125

Recurring calendar event: https://tinyurl.com/2t77jst3

Agenda[edit | edit source]

  • Abhik - nothing in particular, thinking about incorporating heartrate … or EEG pipeline work … trying to decide, might be nice to brainstorm
  • Enric - nothing about myself but a friend asked about breathing through "nose" vs "mouth" and I was curious about what she might ask/wonder with that
  • Joyce - nothing to talk about, but could update on additional observations (and have thoughts about breathing)
  • Rick - no progress in my own stuff, but thinking about for QSers how people interact with their healthcare professionals … gap here, why it exists

Notes[edit | edit source]

Intros[edit | edit source]

  • Derrick - intro, work with data a lot, visualizing it & into using sensors (arduino, raspberry pi), e.g. using detector to track indoor temp to observe AC use & realizing how much one could see in the data about what was going on inside

Gary / one-button tracker[edit | edit source]

  • wrote up in forum - https://forum.quantifiedself.com/t/one-button-tracker/9618/4 in theory: press button and get a timestamp. No clear/best commercial instrument for doing this. Custom device by Thomas & Jakob isn't purchaseable. Puck.js has some (different?) downsides, e.g. false positives. (also Gary ordered & it was held up in customs for 6 weeks…)
  • Enric: reflecting on the psychological effect of "awareness of pressing the button", increasing awareness of the phenomenon. For me it almost felt like... "I'm going to press the button, and then 'experience' what I'm trying to study" -- almost an opposite effect? the button prompts awareness, not the awareness prompting the button.
  • Gary: the meditation tracking was tracking return of attention (noticing I wasn't meditating). I had a hard time analyzing the data… it was very dense? scattered, clumps…? never developed an analytical approach to it. BUT the act of pressing it changed my experience a lot, increasing my awareness -- to the point I was using a button that I knew was broken (!) because it made such a difference for the experience/practice of meditation.
  • Steven: the haptic feedback (in Thomas & Jakob's button) seems important too. Another thing I notice is that you need to create the "filter" -- the definition for what triggers a button press -- training your brain to have increased awareness and understanding of the phenomenon. The positive consequences of this might be an important factor in people wanting to continue active tracking.
  • Enric: e.g. tracking smoking to try to change a habit
  • D G: in atomic habits this is called "point and call" technique for bringing awareness for habit change
  • Mad: I wonder if there's an added aspect of "accountability" -- not merely that you're increasing awareness, but for anything that you want to reduce or avoid (innocuous or not) is something you feel accountable because you're logging it happening.
  • Steven: also importantly, having "bandwidth" to actually engage in active tracking -- when under a lot of stress -- to be realistic about what's possible, actually starting an active tracking habit is hard
  • Enric: figuring out the protocol for me was an issue, needing to simplify what I'm tracking (e.g. one single thing) because you can't just add more buttons
  • Gary: it reminds me of more general issues of designing protocol, which data to use and get… I think of some types as "foreground" data, especially for active tracking; but then add context via passive/background data (e.g. "where was I when this happened") one mistake is lacking background, lacking context to understand "foreground"; a counterpoint is a ton of background data and not knowing what you want to use it for
  • D G: if I want to test what affects typing speed, I can just track it and compare it to everything else; ** ** Gary: we see a lot the complexity of what might affect cognition, and there's so many things, generally you need to have some sort of hypothesis that's more specific …
  • Steven: reflecting on a case where someone that optimized sleep (in order to feel better) and ended up missing a social experience (morning workouts with friends) … which he later reflected may have had an opposite effect (didn't feel better to miss those!)
  • Bastian: to Enric, how much did you actually make use of the button presses in analysis? or was it more the notes? did the button presses help get you to write notes?
  • Enric: I feel like the annotations themselves wouldn't have given me as much insight into the visualization of that information over time; Bastian: but the notes had timestamp so in theory you could graph only those …
  • Enric: that could be done, but I would feel like I wouldn't have as much insight. Also the "intensity" estimated via button press length was informative (graphed as size of bubble) and I think that would be much more difficult to infer from notes alone.
  • Gary: I've noticed a "trust" factor in using the button vs. using a note. I don't know whether that's reasonable … the one-button data does match daily notes about "bad day" or "good day", and I feel like the one button data is more reliable.
  • Joyce: my own experience with doing extensive note-taking… I'd come up with lots of ideas about "what was going on", but being able to "measure" more objectively made it possible to do hypothesis testing.
  • Mad: I've been wondering about what makes a good use case for the 1-button, and what doesn't?
  • Steven: I think one thing that trips people up is when the thing they're tracking has some sort of "dimension"... e.g. "when I feel happy"
  • Mad: and that dimension is internal? (not like: I sneezed at least twice) so you have mental load trying to decide if it's met a threshold.
  • Bastian: in addition, "why did I press the button" in Enric's presses, positive or negative was missing in the press itself
  • Gary: identifying a "trigger" is a key part of the protocol. I've found two things that work for me… one is an intrusive phenomenon, like a sneeze -- for me, hunger, or arrhythmia -- these are hard to ignore, they intrude on my awareness. The other is a routine trigger, e.g. "when I take my medication" or "when I go to bed". … but what's harder is something that's NOT intrusive, trying to be aware of a phenomenon such that you'll hit the button.
  • Gary: tangentially related to "when do you do the measurement" I'm reminded of this forum post... https://forum.quantifiedself.com/t/using-heart-rate-data-to-detect-food-intolerances/9505/8

Gary / HRV[edit | edit source]

  • watched lecture about HRV https://www.physioq.org/lesson/hrv-antiquated-or-indispensable-part-1
  • Gary: highly recommend this, lots of knowledge about HRV, including historical/medical context of where it was used in the past -- and how it's of interest, especially outside clinic vs. lack of modern clinical interest in the metric the historic interest from various fields, from obstrectics to neurology gets into fourier analysis of HRV and timescale is associated with different physiological aspects, from breathing to hormonal and then, "how do you use HRV without having regular heartrate?" for me this was very interesting because I (with arrhythmia) experience this myself! and it has lots of knowledge on how to do this. Part 2 will be Sep 13.
  • Gary: one favorite detail was showing publish research about how using a needle to stimulate vagus nerve affected breathing and HRV -- and he reflects, "how did they find participants to consent?" wondering if it was self research by the researchers, because the procedure is so risky (!) -- and I checked the paper, there's no clear evidence on who participants were, but maybe!
  • Steven: reminded of book "Self Experimenters" -- https://www.amazon.com/Self-Experimenters-Sources-Bibliographies-Indexes-Medical/dp/0313323488

Joyce - with my own EEG stuff, some interesting observations[edit | edit source]

  • delta waves seem to clearly go up with hot flashes, and also seem to go up in response to food triggers
  • some reading indicates that delta wave