7 posts tagged “inflammation”

Know Thyself. Quantify Thyself.

Posted August 13th, 2012 by

Are you someone who likes to track things about yourself?  For example, do you keep an exercise log of how many reps you did – or a food journal that details what (and how much) you consumed?  Do you monitor your health and disease progression at PatientsLikeMe?

Quantified Self

If so, you might not know it, but you are part of the growing Quantified Self (QS) movement.  Also known as “Body Data” and “Life Hacking,” the QS movement was started by Wired magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007.  The idea is to increase self knowledge through self tracking.  More specifically, QSers use technology to record data on various aspects of human life, from “inputs” (food, air) to “states” (moods, blood oxygen levels ) to “performance” (mental, physical).

The hub of the movement is http://quantifiedself.com/, an online community where QSers can share their methods and learn from what others are doing.  In addition, QSers get together face-to-face for regular Show&Tell meetings in various cities around the world as well as an annual conference, which takes place this September in Palo Alto, California.  According to the website, the conference is a “working meeting” for users and tool makers looking to collaborate on self-tracking projects and explore the potential effects of self-tracking on society.

Larry Smarr, Founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and Professor of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of California at San Diego.  Photo Credit: Grant Delin, The Atlantic.

For many QSers, such as astrophysicist-turned-computer scientist Larry Smarr, self-tracking conveys huge benefits.  According to this fascinating profile in The Atlantic entitled “The Measured Man,” Smarr sees it as a tool for battling obesity, defeating incurable diseases (in his case, Crohn’s disease) and revolutionizing healthcare.  He’s got a good reason, too:  this is a man who monitored his own blood work and detected an inflammatory state in his body long before his first Crohn’s symptom appeared.   While some people feel that with enough data every person could find something wrong with their health, Smarr argues that it’s far better to detect that something’s “beginning to go wrong” and seek “preventative maintenance,” just like you would with an automobile.

It’s a striking analogy.  Could we as human beings extend our lives – just as we extend the lives of our cars – through data tracking and “tune-ups”?  It’s one of the big questions at the heart of the QS movement.  But as far as we’re concerned here at PatientsLikeMe, self knowledge – as well as shared knowledge – is always a good thing.  That’s why we’ve developed tools to help you measure your disease progression (e.g. our Multiple Sclerosis Rating Scale), track how your treatments impact your quality of life, monitor over 200 lab results (e.g. Vitamin D, cholesterol, PSA levels) and record how you are feeling day-to-day (our InstantMe survey).  Better yet, we help you share that data with other patients like you, so that everyone benefits and learns.

What do you think?  Has “quantifying yourself” led to any breakthroughs for you?


Are You Taking Cataplex F for Hypothyroidism?

Posted May 14th, 2011 by

Introduced in 1934 by Standard Process, Cataplex F is a whole food dietary supplement designed to support the thyroid as well as the body’s natural response to inflammation.  Containing iodine for thyroid support, Cataplex F promotes healthy skin and hair, the metabolism of fats and the formation of eicosanoids (signaling molecules that play a role in inflammation, immune responses and the central nervous system).  This supplement also contains flaxseed, a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acid precursors.

At PatientsLikeMe, where more than 125,000 patients are sharing their experiences with all types of treatments including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and supplements, two patients report taking Cataplex F for hypothyroidism.  Both report taking this supplement for 1-2 years or more. What can we learn from these patients’ experiences?  According to the one treatment evaluation submitted for Cataplex F, there were no reported side effects, but the effectiveness was unclear, as the patient selected the option, “Can’t tell.”  Cost was reported as $25 or less per month for a daily dosage.

This patient even goes on to share her doctor’s take:  “dubious.”  But what about you?  How would you evaluate your experience with Cataplex F?  Has it helped you or seemingly had no effect?  Help others decide whether to start – or continue – taking this supplement by sharing your experiences at PatientsLikeMe, where more than 2,300 patients with hypothyroidism (92% female; 8% male) would love to hear your thoughts.

JOIN PATIENTSLIKEME TODAY

Have you taken Cataplex F or another over-the-counter supplement for hypothyroidism?  Join PatientsLikeMe and add your experiences to our growing body of knowledge.  Then, stay to exchange advice and support, research common treatments and learn from other patients like you.

Join PatientsLikeMe