Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: An Analytical Approach to Weight Loss

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Analytical Approach to Weight Loss

Lets be honest. I am not big boned or large bodied. I am fat. How fat? I am over 100 lbs overweight and have a BMI over 40. Until recently that would make me morbidly obese, but that classification got change to severely. I guess to make the implications of being obese less stark to those who are obese than to imply impending death.

Recently after attend the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Initiative in La Quinta California. I decided to do something about it. With the support of my family I took some time off and went to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. I was only there for a week, but the results were good. I lost 15 lbs which is about 15% of what I need to lose. That is not bad for five days.

I highly recommend the duke center. I met a lot of people there who they have helped lose a massive amount of weight. There method works while you are there, and if you adopt there methods with work in the outside world.

That is why am I really writing this. While I was there I become interested in what made patients successful when they returned to their lives and what things could be done to impact those results. I was sad to hear that information was lacking. Instead of people who do this are 50% more likely to be successful than those who don't I heard "we thing this will be helpful".  The fact of the matter is Duke, like all of these places, has little knowledge or ability to explore the data of their patients before and after they are at duke. They are trying, but their only ability to pursue this data is by having patients participate surveys. I already know the method of data collection is fraught with danger and poor in terms of real insight. I want better answers than that and I want them now.

During some of the meeting they recommend the use of tracking apps which they felt increased compliance and improved result. I was happy to see one of those apps was Lose It!. Lose it! was written by JJ Allaire who also wrote cold fusion and Rstudio. He is a brilliant computer scientist and businessman. I downloaded the App.

I was was doing that I noticed the Lose it! license. It allows Lose it! to do analytics on the data users enter into the app. That makes sense, and I believe it is a reasonable exchange for the rights to use the app for free.

It was then that I realized that a lot of the data that Lose it! collects is exactly the type of data that Duke would love to know and analyze. This made me wonder if there was ever collaboration between app makers and medical researchers to use that data to improve the results for patients. The advantage being that the data on Apps is not Hippa protected and therefore more easily explored and typically larger than you could get permission to use in a clinical study.

I need to look into this further.

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