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[Perspectives] Medical hackers

When Sara Riggare was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, in 2003, she responded according to her instincts as a data scientist. She set about collecting data on her body to monitor the effectiveness of her medication and of the activity plan she adopted—walking, boxing, knitting. Riggare uses wearable technologies to record her heart rate and sleeping patterns, and has developed apps to test her physical coordination and remind her when she needs to take her medication. For example, a smartphone “tap test” counts the number of times she can tap her finger in 30 s and revealed what times of day her medication was most effective.