Categories
Circadian Lighting Personal

The Right Light

I recently went on a trip to California.

Coming from the East Coast, this was a three-hour shift west. To adjust to California time, I needed to delay my circadian clock. One catch, though: my flight out was extremely early in the morning. That meant, like it or not, I was going to advance myself as I set out on the journey.

Let’s back up a little. We talk about directions your internal clock can shift as advances or delays. Think of advancing as hustling your clock along, making your circadian rhythms more like those of people in time zones east of you. Delaying, on the other hand, is like a temporary slowdown for your clock, making your rhythms more like people living to your west. Light at different times of the day advances or delays you, depending on your clock’s state when you’re exposed to it. 

Categories
Shift Work

Living with Shift Work

It’s no secret that working night shifts does a number on your body.

From increased risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, to excessive alcohol consumption and worsened nutritional intake, shift work is associated with a whole host of nightmarish health effects. 

The simple solution would seem to be to get rid of jobs that put people on work schedules that are brutal to their well-being. But society needs 24-hour emergency and healthcare workers to function, which means night shift work is here to stay.

It’d be great if there was a pill you could take to erase shift work’s negative effects. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of pharmacological solutions that work for shift workers at present. There is hope, however: non-pill solutions, like changing shift timings and light therapy, can offer relief to shift workers. In this blog post, we’ll cover what we know about what works for shift workers.

Categories
Technology

Wearable Headaches (and how to fix them)

So you want to get somebody’s internal time from a wearable…

Let’s talk about wearable data. On the one hand, wearables are an incredible innovation, allowing self-quantification and anomaly detection with unprecedented ease, at unprecedented scales. 

On the other hand, they’re a data science nightmare. Or three nightmares, really. 

Nightmare #1: All the devices are different, and you have to use different ways to get raw data off them. 

Sure, apps like Apple Health that act as clearinghouses make this easier for you. But you can’t use Apple Health for everything. Sometimes, wearables require permission to be granted for you to access their full data. Sometimes, wearable companies go out of business after you’ve built an infrastructure to work with them. 

Can you process heart rate signals from two wearables using the same algorithm? What if they decide what counts as a “step” in different ways? What if the firmware changes? People have certainly thought about these questions, and that’s the whole point: you have to think about them. The effort of keeping track of everything adds up. 

Categories
About Arcascope

Welcome to Arcascope

Here’s the thing about the name:

I wanted to capture what I thought was most exciting about our company.

Sure, you can sleep better by taking care of your circadian rhythms, but circadian rhythms are about a lot more than just sleep

And yep, we’re a circadian rhythms company, but we’re one founded by people who are (primarily) mathematical biologists. 

Rather than trying to figure out what time is in a person’s brain with a gold standard test (for instance, by taking repeated saliva samples for hours in the dark), we use math models to infer what’s most likely to be going on in their brain, given all the inputs that have gone into it. 

Rather than trying to estimate their internal time from a single measurement or number, we use lots of data, collected on the timespan of weeks to months. 

In a sense, we’re using our algorithms to see inside a black box: letting us predict what’s going on in your head, without the need for invasive testing. That’s what I think is most cool about our tech.