2021-09-16 Self-Research Chat

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Things we talked about
Date 2021/09/16
Tools Glucose Monitor Devices, FreeStyle Libre, Fitbark, Fitbit, Apple Watch, Vagus App, Dexcom CGM
Topics Animal tracking, Blood glucose tracking, Self-help books, HRV (Heart Rate Variability), Habits, Mental health

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

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

Agenda[edit | edit source]

  • Gary - no personal updates, but interesting stuff in forum maybe, debate
  • Bastian - no personal updates, but a topic I'm curious about is activity trackers for animals (??)
  • Vytenis - curious about glucose monitor devices
  • D G - self help books
  • Mad: annoyed at things that are nearly impossible to quantify

Notes[edit | edit source]

Vytenis - there' a few devices for glucose tracking (dexcom, freestyle, )[edit | edit source]

  • Dexcom has APIs to get data, but doesn't allow
  • Gary: Used freestyle but it's been a few years, but there was a desktop app to export data from, gave you a table. But i think there's some other solutions
  • Bastian: I've used the freestyle somewhat recently. you can read out data directly via NFC onto your phone, and data can be downloaded from a website from the cloud (at least you don't need to install a desktop app).
  • also I think there's some 3rd party hardware for automating reading out more frequently; the provider's software I think only reads every 15m. https://www.ambrosiasys.com/our-products/blucon/
  • Gary: it sounds like you haven't used it? Bastian: no, just seen it. it looks like it's a little larger than the sensor and you wear it next to the freestyle sensor to send to your phone: https://www.ambrosiasys.com/our-products/blucon/
  • Gary: I recall speculation that the 15m interval was deliberate to smooth data, use algorithms to improve accuracy. Bastian: notably you can get readings every 30s if you manually request, this device automates that process.
  • Bastian: also I think the freestyle libre 2 sensor has some bluetooth that sends data automatically (?) to trigger notifications or alarms. IIRC they also collaborate with some sports branded version of this same product, costs a lot more.: https://www.supersapiens.com

Bastian - was curious about it when on vacation with dog, tired due to running around, wondered what *her* step count was[edit | edit source]

  • Gary: when accelerometers first came out this was common. for example when schools had fitness challenges, kids would put it on their pet to get the numbers.
  • Steven: I recall a "fitbit for you dog" article a friend sent once, but haven't heard much about projects.
  • Bastian: yes… have seen the products, was curious if anyone has used it
  • Ismail: have seen something trying to predict cat mood
  • Steven: I wonder if breeders and other serious dog people
  • Joyce: I see the fitbark sensor on amazon, hah.
  • Enric: I've also seen pet door sensors
  • Shelbey: Heartrate monitors for dogs would have been useful when I was treating mine for heart worms. I had to carry her up and down the stairs to keep heart heart rate low while she was being treated

Gary - interesting discussion in the forum, following the HRV lecture from Andrew Ahn[edit | edit source]

  • Ahn makes a strong case in the lecture that one really needs ekg measures to understand HRV. If you're looking at HRV as a measure of nervous system activation, you need to do it in a way to detect the influence of cardiac nerves on the heartbeat, and that's not possible via optical measures.
  • BUT there's something shared now that seems to claim the opposite - that even just a phone camera can be used.
  • Gary: in my personal use, optical and electrical measures have seemed equivalent but I wasn't looking at HRV, just heart rate.
  • Joyce: I don't use HRV during the daytime, I've thought this metric at night is interesting - tends to get better when my reactions are better. My recollection is that there's a lot of complications on how it's calculated and interpreted.
  • Gary: from what I recall in Ahn's lecture, he goes over different frequencies in variation of HR (including very long, circadian). I think there were two he says can get confused. one frequency related to vagus nerve, affected when you breath in vs out. but then there's another frequency associated with the vascular system, blood pressure, baroreflex.
  • Steven: Marco Altini article about HRV and Apple Watch: https://medium.com/@altini_marco/how-to-make-sense-of-your-apple-watch-heart-rate-variability-hrv-data-89bf4a510438
  • Gary: Ahn reflects on history of HRV, notes that clinicians see it as meaningless.
  • Joyce: I've interacted with Gustaf Kranck, Vagus app, and he's also expressed an opinion that HRV is useless.
  • Gary: one thing I felt I learned from Ahn's lecture is that arrhythmias are extremely common, and they like to filter out all arrhythmias and only look at the interval between *normal* heartbeats. So… the optical measure can't do this, can't discard abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmia). I think Marco's counterpoint is to claim that it's possible to get around this (how it's calculated, or controlling conditions for measurement).
  • Mad: maybe they're both right, if someone doesn't have arrhythmia it "works" much better. Gary: well Ahn states that they're *really* common… but I think Marco's article might imply there are routines and behaviors that could be controlling this.

D G - curious about self help books. I found "atomic habits" to be really good. also "13 things mentally strong people don't do"[edit | edit source]

  • Joyce: "the pulse test" is old and a large influence for me.
  • Ismail: if it's habits, I loved Dopamine Nation
  • Steven: if it's about behavior, the CBT workbook for depression, and for anxiety, are interesting to me. Notably there's evidence that a patient using the book is as effective as therapy. Another one that comes to mind is Seth Robert's Shangri La Diet, where he details a lot of self experimentation that led to a diet theory that was very different from standard theory, and then diving into literature -- I think more about reading about his process of self experimentation, rather than the conclusion.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: https://www.powells.com/book/cognitive-behavioral-workbook-for-depression-2nd-edition-a-step-by-step-program-9781608823802
  • Shangri La Diet: https://www.powells.com/book/shangri-la-diet-9780399153648
  • Mad: I've found my DBT worksheets book really valuable. Also was interesting to get the therapist's own manual and see the goals of therapy, less ... charitable descriptions of patients' issues.
  • And I learned that these DBT things created by Marsha Linehan may have a personal "what worked for me" pragmatism - she's stated that she believes she had BPD, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsha_M._Linehan
  • Shelbey: Jordan Peterson’s books are highly philosophical but I enjoy them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_Rules_for_Life
  • Vally: Second Jordan Peterson as well. 12 Rules for Life was a good book
  • Shelbey: Jordan Peterson’s are audiobooks, you’ll feel like he’s yelling at you the whole time but it’s inspiring. With a Kermit the Frog-esque heavily Canadian voice.
  • Shangri La Diet: https://www.powells.com/book/shangri-la-diet-9780399153648