This report on healthy people using diabetes monitors is worth a peek. It seems there’s a growing number of people without diabetes using continuous glucose monitors to understand how their lifestyle impact blood sugar. CGMs are federally approved medical devices designed to help individuals with diabetes understand and control blood glucose.
I think it’s chuckle-worthy and interesting that a diabetes tool would make its way mainstream,” says Aaron Kowalski, chief mission officer at the diabetes nonprofit JDRF, who also has type 1 diabetes. “ But I guarantee if you wore one to McDonald’s, your blood sugar would spike and you’d learn a lot about nutrition.
Or perhaps you could just skip McDonalds. And the monitor.
A couple of thoughts on off-label continuous glucose monitors
- Consumers will hack their health. This below-the-radar movement is important. We’re entering an era of self-experimentation which goes beyond step counters and sleep monitors.
- Expect more off-label wearables. Look for growth of the off-label medical market. Sano Intelligence is plotting the release of continuous glucose monitors for non-diabetic consumer use.
- Watch for stupid human tricks. While I find this use of continuous glucose monitors rather clever and harmless, expect humans to do innovative things with personal health tools and black market medical devices. Just as the Internet forced health consumers to understand the limits of unlimited information, we’ll have to figure out the boundaries of physical self-experimentation. It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.
- Expect the unexpected in health. Technology rarely winds applied in its intended use. Clive Thompson has suggested, “A tool’s most transformative uses generally take us by surprise.” Empowered health users will use tools as they need.
Public domain image modified from The endocrine organs; an introduction to the study of internal secretion (1916), Sharpey-Schäfer, E. A., London, New York, Longmans, Green, and co. via The Internet Book archive,
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