Lifelogging, an integrated, whole-body network
- Per B. Sederberg
- Center for Cognitive and Memory Disorders
- Tech and Innovation
We all know that brain functions such as our ability to process information can fluctuate during our daily activities. From what seems like moment to moment, we may feel sharper, find it easier to concentrate or be more prone to distractions. And we are also well aware of how these mental and cognitive fluctuations affect our performance; as we plan our days, we often allocate priority tasks to the times when we know we’re most able to focus and think creatively.
Physical and environmental factors influence our neurocapacity, too. How stressed we feel, how many tasks we’re juggling, how much sleep we’ve had and what foods we’ve consumed, among many other variables, help determine how well we’ll be able to complete the tasks of daily living.
But what if we were able to better understand our own reserves of energy and mental capacity and how they influence our ability to reason clearly, process information and make decisions? By increasing our awareness of our own individual cognitive capacities at any given time, we would be better able to manage tasks and make choices that would benefit us in all areas of our lives. Plus this information would help practitioners recommend lifestyle changes and other methods to help us maximize our brain health and wellness.
The Lifelogging, an integrated, whole-body network project seeks to develop an individual, holistic model of changes in neurocapacity using feedback from our nervous systems, which are constantly responding to both low-level stimuli from within our bodies and higher-level stimuli from our environments. Our team will record and analyze changes in nervous system function, neurocapacity and behavior, tracking daily activities using a non-intrusive wearable sensor device that takes photos and saves GPS location. The device will also record physiological data (including heart rate variability and galvanic skin response) and assess cognitive function and mental state while subjects are performing daily tasks.
This model of the determinants of neurocapacity will eventually help us test theories about the causes of decreased mental reserves (and the resulting drop in cognitive performance), as well as develop potential interventions to support optimum brain health and function.