Quantified Self and Diabetes… the Perfect Match

Take a few minutes and watch this video of Jana Beck from a Quantified Self meeting as she explains how she took data from her Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and created her own data visualizations (Thank you to Russ Cucina for sharing this video with me).  I think that the visualizations she created are very cool and obviously helped her in her journey to try out a new method of managing her diabetes with a low carbohydrate diet.

Beyond this particular video, I am also very excited about the Quantified Self movement and its overlap with diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is a disease that requires patients to monitor their physiologic status on a frequent and routine basis, from food intake to activity levels to glucose levels.  Many people in the Quantified Self movement are voluntarily doing much of the same thing.  While these people never have to have the same concerns of a person with diabetes that, if they feel like “slacking off” for a day, something might go horribly wrong, they are at least starting to develop some empathy and interest.  There is a fantastic synergy here, introducing a new cadre of talented, engaged, and enthusiastic people to the field of diabetes technology.  This is happening whether or not they realize it!  This entire group of people are trying to monitor their every action and learn from the data visualizations… precisely the thing we try to help people with type 1 diabetes do!  I’ve not yet been to one of the QS MeetUp events in San Francisco, but plan to go sometime soon.  I am convinced that advancements in diabetes care will come from the QS movement, whether intentional or accidental.

Tip: If you already know about diabetes and CGM devices, you can skip to minute 6 and start there.  The visualizations start at about minute 8 of the video.


About Aaron Neinstein, MD
I'm an Assistant Professor in Endocrinology and Director of Clinical Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco.

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