in Medtronic's innovation department, says that the quantified self movement is
in the pioneer stage and that its adherents resemble the organic computer
dabblers working out of garages in the 1970s and '80s.
"They were laughingstock early adopters at the time, and look at where we are now. I'm totally convinced that this is the same thing happening with the quantified self," Mark said. "They are paving the way of where we are going to be heading with health at some point."
Mark, who started out as a computer programmer, says his love of data drove his interest in recording his body's performance during his runs.
"When I had the opportunity to throw a GPS on my arm and a heart-rate monitor on my chest, it was really kind of fun from a pure geek standpoint to be able to see all this data that I could capture," he said.
And he has a son who uses a continuous glucose monitor to manage his Type 1 diabetes.
"My interest in qs gives me more of an interest in digging the details of the glucose sensor stuff I get from him," Mark said. "I run the reports. It's much more helpful to look for trends. You can now overlay seven days of those curves and say 'OK, he's going up every day right after lunch; we need to do something about the lunch dose.'?"
Doctors are taking notice of the boom in apps and other technology to help trackers collect bio data. "There's a lot of discussion about whether these things could be used for chronic diseases. There's a big interest in home monitoring," said Dr. Michael Joyner, professor of anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic and a physiologist.
Joyner, who describes himself as an "agnostic" on the quantified-self movement, said there are conflicting reports about its effectiveness and many questions. But, he added, "There's a lot of hope that it will work." Still, he says of dedicated self-trackers: "Are they living life or are they tracking life?"
'I can ... see how far I've come'
Erin Klegstad, 33, of St. Paul, is training for her first ironman competition and is using tracking to chart her body's performance. She uses TrainingPeaks, a website, to log data from her workouts.
For example, she keeps track of her times during a swim workout. She wears a heart-rate monitor while running and biking. She connects her Garmin to her computer and it shows her heart rate throughout a workout.
Studying the results one day, she was able to pinpoint a drop in her heart rate, deducing that it happened as she stopped at a stoplight during a run.
"You can look at fancy graphs and charts," Klegstad said. "I can look back at when I was training for my first marathon. I can compare times to see how far I've come.
"For me, it's more curiosity. I just like to see the numbers and [it's] fun to watch it all. It's taught me what my body can do and makes me push harder."
Allie Shah --612-673-4488
(c)2013 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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