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Wearing a 'heart' on your sleeve can reduce stress -- ScienceDaily

To test the efficacy of doppel, the researchers exposed volunteers to a socially stressful situation and measured their physiological arousal and their reported anxiety levels. In a controlled, single-blind study, two groups of participants were asked to prepare a public speech -- a widely used psychological task that consistently increases stress. All participants wore the device on their wrist and a cover story was used to suggest to participants that the device was measuring blood pressure during the anticipation of the task. Importantly, for only one of the two groups of participants, the device was turned on and delivered a heartbeat-like vibration at a slower frequency than the participants' resting heart rate, while they were preparing their speech. The researchers measured both physiological arousal and subjective reports of anxiety. The use of doppel had a tangible and measurable calming effect across both physiological and psychological levels. Only the participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration displayed lower increases in skin conductance responses and lower anxiety levels. "Wearable devices are becoming ubiquitous in everyday life, but across the board their primary aim is to quantify our activity. The results we got suggest that, rather than measuring ourselves, we can instead harvest our natural responses to heartbeat like rhythms in ways that can assist people in their everyday life." said Professor Tsakiris.

Long term heart rate elevation from past stimulant use

The effect on heart rate was in large part driven by current use of medication, although at one time point (8 years) there was a significant effect of cumulative exposure regardless of current use.

Verily Blog: Introducing Verily Study Watch

Study Watch will be used in several observational studies conducted by Verily’s partners, including the Personalized Parkinson’s Project, a multi-year study to identify patterns in the progression of Parkinson’s disease and provide a foundation for more personalized treatments. Also, Study Watch will be used in the forthcoming Baseline study, a longitudinal study exploring transitions between health and disease. In the future, we plan to incorporate Study Watch in a broad array of health applications.

Tech world aims to tackle the mental health issue next

“Jawbone and Basis have previously used GSR technology in their wearables to determine perspiration levels and heart rate, but I believe that its potential hasn’t been fully explored yet. I continue to believe that next year Fitbit and other major players in the wearables space will start expanding the capabilities of their device by adding additional sensors,” says Jijiashvili.

Towards a study of exercise impact on schizophrenia

We aim to conduct a trial where these methodological considerations are addressed by comparing a 12-week aerobic high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program to skills training of the same duration, with regard to: 1) aspects of cognitive function, especially memory, attention and executive function, and 2) psychiatric symptom load (negative and positive symptoms) and wellbeing. Post-treatment improvement in cognition and psychotic symptoms are anticipated. We hypothesize that the individuals in the Exercise Group (EG) will perform better than individuals in the Computer Skills Group (CSG) on aspects of cognitive function, especially memory, attention and executive function. In addition, we expect ameliorated positive and negative symptoms in the EG.

A Test That Finds the Perfect Drug? - The Atlantic

Brain Resource, meanwhile, gives depression patients an online test that gauges memory, self-regulation, and emotion. Their responses are then compared against a database that contains the results of 1,000 individuals who took the same test. The thinking is that patients who score similarly will be helped by similar drugs. Currently, Brain Resource evaluates a patient’s likely response to three common depression drugs, which are sold under the brand names Lexapro, Zoloft, and Effexor. The online test takes 40 minutes, and according to Brain Resource’s founders, the results are available within two minutes. (The test is currently awaiting FDA approval.)

Study finds wearables may help detect serious illness | MobiHealthNews

Led by geneticist Dr. Michael Snyder, researchers looked at 2 billion measurements from 60 people. Study participants wore between one and seven commercially available activity trackers (including Masimo, Basis and Scanadu) and other monitors, which were compared to the university’s standard clinical vital signs monitors. The devices collected 250,000 measurements per day, and researchers worked to establish a baseline range of values for each participant by collecting essential data like weight, heart rate, skin temperature, sleep, activity and caloric burn and exposure to gamma rays and X-rays. From there, the Stanford team was able to monitor deviations from each person’s normal baseline and associate the changes with environmental conditions (like flying in an airplane), illness, and other health-impacting factors. The team found two health-related observations – wearables were useful in identifying the onset of Lyme disease and inflammation, allowing them to build an algorithm for personalized disease detection using wearable sensors. They also found the sensors can reveal physiological differences between insulin sensitive and insulin-resistant people, meaning they could have the potential to help identify those at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Wearable biosensors can flag illness, Lyme disease, risk for diabetes; low airplane oxygen -- ScienceDaily

Snyder's team took advantage of the portability and ease of using wearable devices to collect a myriad of measurements from participants for up to two years to detect deviations from their normal baseline for measurements such as heart rate and skin temperature. Because the devices continuously follow these measures, they potentially provide rapid means to detect the onset of diseases that change your physiology. Many of these deviations coincided with times when people became ill. Heart rate and skin temperature tends to rise when people become ill, said Snyder. His team wrote a software program for data from a smart watch called 'Change of Heart' to detect these deviations and sense when people are becoming sick. The devices were able to detect common colds and in one case helped detect Lyme disease -- in Snyder, who participated in the study.

Science: Your new fitness tracker will not work miracles

People who are motivated to use today’s trackers can be reassured that “they really do a pretty effective job of letting people quantify their lifestyle habits,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise. “But there appears to be a gap between monitoring your habits and actually changing them.”

Physical activity, even in small amounts, benefits both physical and psychological well-being | University of Cambridge

For the new study, data on physical activity was passively gathered from smartphone accelerometers, and participants were also sent a short survey at two random intervals throughout the day which asked questions about their emotional state. Users reported their emotional state on a grid, based on how positive or negative, and how energetic or sleepy, they were feeling. Users were also asked a handful of questions about how their mood compared to normal. The activity data was then averaged over the course of the day, so while the researchers could not pinpoint what participants were doing at any given time, they found that participants who had higher levels of activity throughout the day reported a more positive emotional state. “Our data show that happy people are more active in general,” said the paper’s senior author Dr Jason Rentfrow, from Cambridge’s Department of Psychology and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. “However, our analyses also indicated that periods of physical activity led to increased positive mood, regardless of individuals’ baseline happiness. There have been many studies about the positive psychological effects of exercise, but what we’ve found is that in order to be happier, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon – all you’ve really got to do is periodically engage in slight physical activity throughout the day.” “Most of us don’t keep track of all of our movements during the day,” said study co-author Dr Gillian Sandstrom from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex. “A person might track whether they went for a walk or went to the gym, but when asked, most of them probably wouldn’t remember walking from the desk to the photocopier, or from the car to the office door.”

Provocative New Insights From the Largest Consumer Sleep Study Ever Released | The Huffington Post

• Exercise is good for sleep: Any amount is helpful, but the optimal amount is 30 minutes, which correlates to 14 minutes of extra sleep per night. • Caffeine: Good news here! Three or fewer cups of coffee didn’t notably affect average sleep time much, but those who drank four cups or more slept 26 minutes less. • Alcohol: Surprisingly, those who had one or two drinks slept an average of 16 minutes more than people who had more than two drinks (or none at all).

Fitbit charts a wild heart and a calming mind

Humans rely on two feats of engineering, each astonishing in its own right. First, the body is endowed with an ability to constantly and instantly adjust to changing conditions. And, second, the body has an equally constant and instantaneous capacity to suppress awareness of those adjustments.

How we discovered the dark side of wearable fitness trackers

We also found that the Fitbit was an active participant in the construction of everyday life. It had a profound impact on the women’s decision-making in terms of their diet, exercise and how they travelled from one place to another. Almost every participant took a longer route to increase the number of steps they took (91%) and amount of weekly exercise (95%) they did. Most increased their walking speed to reach their Fitbit targets faster (56%). We also saw a change in eating habits to more healthy food, smaller portion sizes and fewer takeaways (76%).