Introduction to the Quantified Self Symposium 2018

On April 19, 2018, self-trackers, policy leaders, researchers, clinicians, toolmakers and community members gather to set an agenda for everyday science and cardiovascular health. Pictured here (left to right): Gary Wolf, Whitney Erin Boesel, Xiao Li, Katherine Kim, and Jeffrey Olgin.

Self-observation and self-experiment predate professional science by thousands of years, shading incrementally into the general human ability to think.
 — Gary Wolf

On April 19, 2018, self-trackers, toolmakers, activists, clinicians, scholars, and scientists gathered at the Quantified Self Symposium to explore the impact of everyday science on cardiovascular health and disease. To those of you who managed to be with us: Thank you. The day we spent together will help guide the evolution of our new field for years to come. None of this could happen without your time, focus, and critical questioning. For those of you who couldn’t make it, please take a look at the meeting highlights. Whether you were in San Diego or not, we welcome your comments.

This year we were able to look back at ideas floated in previous meetings that have now become a reality, such as the publication of a focus theme of Methods of Information in Medicine on single subject research, and the launch of an important participant-led research project on high frequency blood lipid measurement, supported by a process of ethical evaluation independent of traditional IRB review. The quality of the original discoveries reported by self-trackers was outstanding. Novel research presented by participants included data showing large variation of blood lipids correlated with ovulatory cycle, and time of day effects on blood lipid measurements that caused individuals to cross risk categories, even when only fasting measurements were included.

Participation by pioneering researchers in chronobiology, senior investigators working on NIH funded precision medicine initiatives, and over a dozen commercial companies offering new assays relevant to cardiovascular health, gave us all a first hand experience of the type of cross-sector collaboration that will make a big difference in coming years.

The heart of the sessions was open discussion among the participants in a seminar style, with a few short talks at the beginning of each hour to frame the topic. The videos linked here are just highlights from these talks: we hope you will use them to start your own conversations.

Gordon Stewart, Larry Smarr, Susannah Fox and Gary Wolf Introduce The 2018 Quantified Self Symposium