The Future of Quantified Self?

Hello All,

As you guys might have come across the news about how our body is 90% comprised of bacterias and only 10% is our own cells, I was thinking about what that meant for us. If 90% of our body is comprised of community of microbiomes that collaborate with our organs to allow us to function, what is “self” and what does that mean for the quantified “self”?

I’m just letting my imaginary side open and exploring and trying to think how that’d impact us daily and how it’d impact our method of collecting data.

Suppose that we are few hundred? decade? years in the future, if we could get some kind of sensor to that micro scale, and to quantify whatever interaction that is going on, what could be possible?

I was just thinking that, if we wanted to quantify the microbiome, it’s not really about counting the quantity of all the bacteria but really trying to nail down the complexity of its ecosystem (its inputs and outputs and how it regulates different enzymes and nutrients).

I’m thinking that the first step in trying to quantify the microbiome activity and interactivity with ourselves is through understanding and engaging the “microbial time”.

If we could rationalize the pace and pattern = time of how they interact, could we be able to map and quantify what is happening?

Suppose we’re designing a “microbial clock”, how do you think it’d look? what would be the crucial information it needs to convey? what are the variables? and what do we do with the data??

Hey Tim
I like the Juxtaposition of “The Future of Quantified Self” with a discussion on fecal bacteria.
I agree that some of the research on stool transplants curing many things is quite compelling and does steer one toward a fecal bugs-centric view of the world. Sounds like you are on the cutting edge of quantifying the hidden 90% of yourself.

When looking at QS the important thing is that it’s easy to gather data. If you want to look at the future of QS focus on places where it’s easy to gather a lot of data.

As far as bacteria go, there are a few possibilities.

You can gene manipulate your gut bacteria a lot easier than doing gene therapy with your own body. That means you can build bacteria that secrete a specific signal protein in cases you want to investigate. Probiotics are a pretty easy way to duplicate bacteria and to ingest them.

Afterwards you can analyse how much of that signal protein is in your stool.

The other method that might be interesting is analysing the bacteria that live on your body. We might find out that a population with a high amount of a specific species of bacteria leads to a person being depressed. If we know that, we can do something about the problem.

At the beginning the core is exploratory data gathering. Find easy ways to gather data and play with it.