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Health Trackers: How Technology is Helping Us Monitor and Improve Our Health (Hardback)
  • Health Trackers: How Technology is Helping Us Monitor and Improve Our Health (Hardback)

Health Trackers: How Technology is Helping Us Monitor and Improve Our Health (Hardback)

Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 01/08/2015
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A new industry is growing around the tracking of health and fitness through various gadgets, apps, and programs. These new ways of monitoring our every move, however, may not be well understood even by those who use them, and yet they may be revolutionizing the health and wellness industries. This book makes sense of the various tracking devices and illustrates how they work for us and our overall health.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442253551
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 235 x 162 x 23 mm

Tech blogger MacManus introduces readers to the 'self-tracking revolution' in health and the technology driving it in this well-written overview. MacManus covers the ubiquitous Fitbit tracker, gives a nod to the Apple Watch, and describes MyFitnessPal, the online health and calorie tracker that debuted in 2004 and boasted 40 million users by 2013. He also introduces the Internet-connected Withings scale. Other services covered here include 23andme, a DNA-testing company, and Curious, an online community designed to crowdsource information about diseases. As he cautions, the information these services can uncover may not always be welcome. Further topics are the 'brain dock' clinics in Japan, where people go to be scanned for brain diseases, and Neuroprofile, described by its developer as a 'brain imaging and interpretation' service. As important as the products and services MacManus discusses are the dilemmas he presents: changes in the roles of doctors, unresolved privacy issues, and unanswered questions about who will bear the costs associated with these tools. What begins as a lighthearted and informative look at useful new devices quickly becomes a thought-provoking study of health care in a brave new world. * Publishers Weekly *
People are fixated on numbers: credit score, gas mileage, Facebook likes. That includes health data, too: weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure. Increasingly, we are able to measure, outside the doctor's office, our health numbers. Consider diabetics who regularly check their blood sugars at home or hypertensives who record their blood pressure readings. Recently, health tracking has gotten even easier. MacManus, originator of a technology blog, interviews entrepreneurs, inventors, and physicians and describes products integral to health-tracking services. Notable names include the Fitbit tracker (A 'pedometer on steroids'), 23andMe (direct-to-consumer DNA testing), and MyFitnessPal (a calorie counter). MacManus expresses concerns about protecting the privacy of personal data, the risk of being overwhelmed by too much information, and the fact that not everything a person monitors has a practical purpose yet. He muses about the future: sensors integrated into clothing, implants in the body, even detectors in the toilet bowl. Yet staying well entails more than gadgets, sensors, and apps. It requires motivation to improve one's health behavior and a commitment to caring for mind and body. * Booklist *
Health Trackers is a timely and insightful read that demonstrates how technology can increase our awareness of our bodies. The book also sends a clear message to the medical society on the benefits of self-tracking for health care management. MacManus' own journey through diabetes and self-tracking [will spike] interest to learn more about the value of these technologies in clinical practice. * AMWA Journal *

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