Our extended brains

23 Oct

Yesterday while watching one of my favorite shows “Through the Wormhole” I came across an interesting concept about how our brains have most likely been saturated and how in order to continue to evolve and overcome this saturation we have created extensions of our minds (e.g.through the internet and smart mobile devices gateways) and built networks of knowledge and information to make more informed decisions. if you think about it, one of the primary functions of our brain is to acquire knowledge and act upon this knowledge by making a decision. The quality of our decision is mainly based on three factors – 1) the amount of information we accumulate 2) the quality of information we acquire and 3) our ability to comprehend this vast amount of information.

If we consider our health as an example, the quality of everyday decisions we make regarding our lifestyle and medical conditions can have a significant impact on our wellbeing. We are at a stage of evolution where we have access to vast amounts of information at our fingertips and we have our devices to accumulate this information. But does this mean we have a “bigger brain” to make high quality decisions? In the near future we may see applications with sophisticated algorithms that can also comprehend this information and spit out a “high quality decision”. For example, while buying a snack, your “extended brain” tells you that based on a lab test result you took a year ago and your behaviour over the past month, the likelihood of increasing your cholestrol over the threshold is much higher compared to an average person or based on a network of social chatter and patterns, the snack has been shown to not go well with a drink. What makes this usecase practically viable is when I don’t have to open, close, type, browse, log, etc. I just scan, the product and a 5 point summary is displayed with a recommendation. But here we won’t be able to avoid taking a decision completely. I would really hate it if my phone tells me I can’t eat a snicker bar or worse dosen’t allow me to purchase one! Also like our brains, our “extended brains” need to be used.

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Turn your iPhone in to a Blood Pressure Monitor

31 Jul

The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor is a cool device that turns your iPhone/iPod/iPad into a Blood Pressure Monitor. The cuff can be carried anywhere you go, making the monitor (iOS device + cuff) portable. This way you don’t have to stay home to take your Blood Pressure measurements. Our Smart Phones keeps getting smarter ūüėÄ I wouldn’t be surprised in the near future when all medical tests that you run in a lab/clinic, can be run at home with a simple attachment device.

One aspect I really like about the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor is that it can be integrated with other health and fitness apps through their SDK. Information of lifestyle, fitness in additioin to Blood Pressure readings and weight can help doctors better diagnose the condition and suggest treatment plans. We have started work on integrating the Withings SDK with SmartBP. To learn more about this device, click here.

5 reasons to keep track of your Blood Pressure measurements

21 Jul

Over the past few months when¬†SmartBP¬†was being developed, many people have asked me “Ok sure I can measure my blood pressure at home and¬†with today’s technology I can share it with my physician anywhere and anytime. But is it really important that I record all my readings? I don’t even know if its important that I measure my blood pressure, let alone maintain all my measurements” So is¬†keeping track of your blood pressure¬†measurements really that important? Ofcourse it is. Here are 5 reasons why you need to regularly measure your blood pressure¬†and record your measurements:

1)¬†Accuracy:¬†In the Doctor’s office blood pressure¬†measurements maybe inaccurate due to white coat hypertension, a phenomenon where blood pressure¬†is elevated due to anxiety. We can all be a bit unnerved in a clincial setting. Measuring blood pressure¬†at home regularly and averaging these measurements can produce a more accurate¬†assessment¬†of your condition.

2) Motivation: Like looking at your weighing scale everyday in the morning and pushing yourself to get achieve your target weight goals, regularly monitoring your blood pressure can motivate you to set a goal and achieve it. An increase of 20 mmHg systolic and 10 mmHg diastolic doubles the risk of heart disease.

3) Baselining: Blood pressure changes and fluctuates throughout the day. Therefore baselining is important so that your doctor understands where you really are and where your really need to be.

4) Silent Killer: High blood pressure has no symptoms which is why it is also referred to as a silent killer. Untreated hypertension (or high blood pressure) increases the risk of heart, blood vessels and kidney diseases. Therefore it is important to be proactive and track your blood pressure regularly.

5) Track your Progress: In addition to your doctor, family and friends it is really you who needs to be actively involved in your health. Being informed and tracking the progress you are making can put you in a better position to make informed decisions for lifestyle modifications and medications. As the bandwidth of most healthcare professionals is limited, you will need to make the time for yourself to be in control of your health. Keeping track of your blood pressure measurements helps you analyze results and the progress you are making. This helps you to figure out if a certain diet, medication or any other treatment plan has proven effective.

 

Synchronize Blood Pressure Measurements to SmartBP from your Blood Pressure Monitor using Microsoft HealthVault

18 Jul

SmartBP can store and access blood pressure measurements anywhere and anytime using Microsoft HealthVault. You can avoid manual data entry and reduce errors by automatically uploading blood pressure measurements to HealthVault and synchronizing the information with SmartBP. The following Blood Pressure Monitors can connect to HealthVault:

* A&D Medical UA-767PC Blood Pressure Monitor 
* Omron BP791IT Blood Pressure Monitor
* Withings BP-800 Blood Pressure Monitor
* HoMedics BPA-260-CBL Blood Pressure Monitor

The above devices can be connected to your PC using Microsoft Connection Center software. The drivers are installed in the above blood pressure monitors, so it should directly upload the blood pressure measurements to HealthVault. This information can be synced with SmartBP from the app at a click or rather tap of a button.

Happy Syncing!

Mantra what keeps me going…couldn’t have found it at a better time

16 Jul

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Blood Pressure Chart

9 Jul

Blood Pressure Chart Spring banner

Above table provides a classification of BP for adults 18 years and older. The classification is based on the average of two or more properly measured, seated, BP readings on each of two or more office visits.

This Classification of blood pressure for adults is based on The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC7; NIH Publication No. 04-5230, Aug 2004). This report was created by The National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP). The work was supported by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As per the report, the classification mentioned are intended as a guide and not a mandate. Therefore discuss with your doctor for more detailed information about your condition.

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Smart Blood Pressure for iPhone

9 Jul

Smart Blood Pressure for iPhone