Tuesday the 31st of January, students of the Honours Minor in Research Skills and Global Health & Quantified Self at Hanze UAS presented their self-tracking projects. More than 25 posters adorned the walls of the Wiebenga building where the students elaborated on their Quantified Self research. Topics covered were e.g. the influence of music, coffee consumption and phone usage on sleep.
Both minors help students improve their statistics and research skills while getting acquainted with Quantified Self. We spoke to a number of these students and all of them were very positive about the topic of Quantified Self, but also the programmes’ setup to motivate statistics learning. Moreover, it seems to be a challenging assignment; choosing a research topic, selecting the right technology, tracking oneself and filtering out possible biases. Also, due to the n-of-1 character of the projects it is hard to generate significant results.
Nevertheless, an impressive range of topics was presented with interesting results. One focussed on the influence of a low sugar diet on health, showing significantly lower pre-hypertensional blood pressure values as measured by the Withings tracker used. Another looked at the possible link between using one’s phone before sleeping and quality of sleep. Data gathered from a Zeo Personal Sleep Manager indicated no significant difference in sleep quality between nights with or without pre-sleep phone usage.
The students indicated that although biases were always attempted to be mitigated and the appropriate statistical techniques were applied the results are to be taken with a grain of salt due to the limited amount of data used and the n-of-1 character that is inherent to QS research. That said, it is clear that students at Hanze UAS are really being prepared to be health care professionals of the future by experimenting with the newest technology and embracing the opportunities that personalized digital health has to offer.