Hay fever / pollen allergy prevention for year ahead?

I am consider trying Kinesiology + Cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT ) as a preventative approach. When is best time to start the session/treatment? How will I judge the outcome? I note this thread https://openhumans.slack.com/archives/CJ2RY8QTG/p1558026307389900?thread_ts=1558025976.387500 on self tracking. As this article suggests, https://qz.com/507727/a-man-who-recorded-his-every-sneeze-for-five-years-might-have-a-fix-for-your-pollen-allergy/ hay fever / pollen allergy is a tricky topic. Pollen counts to genes to food etc. My goals is not to resort to antihistamine drugs.


Hi James,

I’ve seen Thomas Blomseth Christiansen, who did the sneeze tracking project, present many times. The most important thing I’ve learned from following this research is not to jump too quickly to an intervention. Although he eventually ended up using his own “one button tracker” to make observations, most of the tracking he did was with an app on his phone. It’s a bit of a pain to record every sneeze this way, which is why he built the one-button, but it did work for him. Once you get comfortable with an observation approach (which takes some time/practice), your tests become a lot easier.

Will you be in the webinar Wednesday? I’ve DM’d Thomas to see if he could join us.

can you provide link to the webinar, I ll if I am free to join in. I have been self experimenting for 30 years on this topic, local honey to pressure points and falling back to drug medicine when needed.

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Hey, the webinar will be held through Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/196519106. The meetings are generally at 10:00 Pacific / 18:00 GMT, also the one tomorrow.

The full schedule can be found at https://www.openhumans.org/self-research/ Hope that helps!

Thank you for the info. One of the main reasons I think my hayfever has become worse the older I get is because the local and not so local farmers planting more oil seed rape. A subsidy crop. The yellow flowers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapeseed timing when feel breathlessness. I have a luftdaten air quality sensor this year both inside and out but this does not detect pollen types but I think future devices will give such accuracy.

That’s really interesting. Have you noticed proximity effects, more symptoms when near their fields?

yes. Being closer to the fields makes breathing harder, induces headache

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Some more thinking out loud on why I am interested in Kinesiology + Cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT ). A friend told me they had gone to clinic and since the treatment their hayfever has gone away. This sounds like a cure to me and that appeals. I have been aware of such treatments for many many years but I have never seen any scientific evidence or data to support the effectiveness. However, recently another friend told me of kinesiology practitioners nearer to my home. Given the number of practices in the world you would think it would possible to collect data from all those and produce some statistics on who, locations or styles of treatment and duration of effectiveness?

How do we know when a treatment or intervention is working? In years when I have given in to taking medical prescription drugs, nasal sprays and eye drops. Some years I will stop taking the medicine to see how I feel. These medications work by accumulating ‘resistance’ (anti histamines) so when you stop taking them it takes time for the effect to wear off. In that time period many things could have changed. The weather, time in the season, how you are sleeping etc. etc. It would seem practical for a network of people to participate in a combined experiment with some staying on and some coming off the medication? Analysis could be performed on locations (type of pollen) etc. This would not be a straight forward analysis as each peer would be a different age to genes, level of actively, diet etc. etc. but that is real life. If we want answers it would seem worth the effort to tackle this complex analysis.

What could be self measured? General how I feel(self)? How well I sleep (wearable). Bags under eyes (photograph), frequency and time of sneezing (self or advanced wearable or sound listening), blood shot eyes (photograph). The environment. Self location (mobile GPS), temperature, wind (weather station), pollen count (remote monitoring), air quality (luftdaten). Others, coding productivity (github commits). Frame of mind (mood app), Fasting (zero app) etc etc.

Given the number of practices in the world you would think it would possible to collect data from all those and produce some statistics on who, locations or styles of treatment and duration of effectiveness?

It would seem practical for a network of people to participate in a combined experiment with some staying on and some coming off the medication?

Getting larger projects going is challenging! We’d like to support more folks doing this – and I think we see self-research projects as a great starting point for that. :crossed_fingers: A self-research project enables someone to explore and refine their questions, develop and improve protocols, and collect an initial data sample (their own) that may motivate others to contribute.

One of my biggest lessons from the last decade has to do with exactly this question of combined experimentation. The lesson is that the complexity of these groups experiments is significantly greater than I estimated when I first started. Despite this complexity, there is real learning possible. The key is to know in advance that the work will be costly and time consuming, so as not to be surprised or discouraged.

Here is a high quality example of a group project that was able to make significant discoveries. It’s more of a hybrid academic/self-research project, but I still think it’s worth considering because it helps estimate the project requirements: Digital Health: Tracking Physiomes and Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information.

We’ve tried some simpler projects; for instance, Eri Gentry organized a group experiment to see if consuming more butter improved cognition based on Seth Roberts’ self-experiments in this area.

And Azure Grant and I organized a group to test our blood cholesterol at a high frequency. All of us had individual questions, but we collaborated on supporting the self-research process and also investigated a common group question relating to circadian timing of cholesterol measures.

All to say: In my opinion what you are suggesting is definitely possible and can yield good results, but it takes a lot of time and effort.

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over half a million people are claimed to have joined this fasting app / self / network experiment. https://www.zerofasting.com/ Does allow for exporting of csv data which is basically time stamping of fasting times and mood tracking. There must be some way for our two communities to work seamlessly togethe? I guess this single app specialism (plus celebrity followers/ attention) will apply to many more areas.

I think it is possible to radically reduce the participation setup time and effort. Key to this will be self data ownership and control by default, that will take time but coming this decade.

More thinking out loud. Striving for a cure. I have gone through decades of n = 1 experiments. I know the timing of the pollens (although I would like to have detailed pollen counts per type to confirm this independently i.e. what pollens are in the air at my location). Therefore I choose when to start my treatments / therapy or drug I am testing that season. I know when I can stop and all this is customised by the type of prevailing weather, cold wintry spring or hot sunny summer etc. In terms of my sporting activities of which I do many I am never prevented from doing what I want. But I never feel happy with this outcome. A deep conviction for a cure prevails. What does that mean, a cure? It is a genetic ‘fault’ or immune system over reaction or the local environment changing radically. Should I not change environment rather than change me? The immune system is the one I think requires more inquiry. The science literature pursues this area too. What can be done to alter / change / adjust an immune system? Diet, exercise, stress, sleep etc… Diet is one area I can do more. Does intermittent fasting reduce symptoms? If so, what style / type of fasting would be best to pursue? And what type of food ( have eaten all the local honey and pollen capsules) over the years. How about only local plant based food?