The Future of Dieting Is Personalized Algorithms Based on Your Gut Bacteria

Your friend has cut out sugar and feels amazing as a result. Another friend, on the other hand, is on what sometimes appears to be a strict all-candy diet and still stays perfectly healthy and trim. And you have tried both of these dietary tactics and have seen no real changes in your own body.

Source: The Future of Dieting Is Personalized Algorithms Based on Your Gut Bacteria

It’s doable, but it screams of something that will cost.  If it works for you, great!  It takes 2+ years for habits to take place to maintain weight loss, so I’m worried the gut bacteria diet will play out like most other diets.

Study: Your Face Alone Can Reveal Your Biological Age to a Computer

Biological, not mental 😉

If anyone’s ever gazed into your eyes and told you that you look old, they might soon have an algorithm that agrees with them. A new study reveals that your face alone can be used to predict your biological age computationally, with a high degree of accuracy.

Source: Your Face Alone Can Reveal Your Biological Age to a Computer

But what about plastic surgery?  Or the full face transplants they’ve managed to do?  A co-worker brought an interesting fact about Korean culture.  It’s very common for young women to get cosmetic surgery for graduation presents, or plan to get it done.  I’ve heard similar in Canada/US, though mostly the stories are about boob jobs.  Understandably, it’s to be more attractive to get the job/guy/etc.  Guys too, but it’s not nearly as common.  For guys, there’s been word about ab and calf implants but lots of guys with “elephant ears” get these seen to.  I really have to wonder what guys with ab implants look like if they gain serious weight…

A clueless guy responded to the cosmetic surgery news with: “Why not get a decent TV instead?”  They really did not comprehend that cosmetic surgery is a personal investment.  The benefits go beyond monetary and mating – who wants to grow up being called “dumbo”?  “Resting bitch face” is a recent term that’s become popular that highlights the reality that what people perceive is not always correct.  But people will treat you based on those decisions, make you accountable for them.

In closing:

“I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you’re out there and you’re cute, maybe you’re beautiful. I just want to tell you somethin’ — there’s more of us UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS than you are, hey-y, so watch out.”

— Frank Zappa

This Treadmill Test Can Predict Your Odds Of Surviving Another Decade

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have devised a simple treadmill test and formula to calculate your odds of surviving the next ten years, and it goes like this: FIT Treadmill Score = %MPHR + 12 (METS) – 4 (age) + 43 (if female). Here’s how it works and what it means to your health.

“The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test,” noted team leader Haitham Ahmed of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in a statement.

To create this algorithm, Ahmed’s team studied 58,020 adults from Detroit aged 18 to 96 who were being evaluated for chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or dizziness (all of the participants were free from established heart disease). These individuals were put through exercise stress tests from January 1991 through to May 2009.

…You may also not want to evaluate yourself. As noted by Melissa Healy in the LA Times, “Do-it-yourself stress testing is probably not very reliable, since a physician or sports physiologist needs to be around to decide when to call a halt to the test (and therefore what maximum a test-taker has achieved).”

Source: This Treadmill Test Can Predict Your Odds Of Surviving Another Decade

Nuff Said?

The Brazilian ‘getting up off the floor’ test for geriatric mortality prediction is novel because it is so cheap to administer.

Using Social Media, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends

The idea for the study came together last year when psychologist Youyou Wu and computer scientist Michal Kosinski, then both at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, watched Her, a 2013 science fiction film in which a man falls in love with his computer operating system. “By analyzing his digital records, his computer can understand and respond to his thoughts and needs much better than other humans,” Wu says, “including his long-term girlfriend and closest friends.” Wu and Kosinski wondered: Is that possible in real life?

… a team led by Kosinski showed that the pattern of people’s likes on Facebook is enough to predict their personal traits such as gender, race, political persuasion, and even sexuality.

Source: Your computer knows you better than your friends do

It was never a matter of “if”, but “when”.  Social media is a sociologists dream come true.  All the demographics, all the data…  If the service is free, the product is you.

The Math of Organ Donation: Kidneys are an NP-hard Problem

We’re bilaterally symmetric organisms—we’ve got matching bits on our left and right side. But many critical organs are present in only a single copy (hello heart) or we need both to function optimally (see: lungs). The kidneys are rare exceptions, as your body gets by just fine with only a single one. That has enabled people to become living kidney donors, with both the donor and recipient continuing life with one kidney.

Often, in cases where someone needs a transplant, there is a relative willing to make this sacrifice, but unable to do so because they aren’t a close enough tissue match, which would lead to the organ’s rejection by its new host’s immune system. Separately, there are some rare individuals who are simply willing to donate a kidney to an unknown recipient. So the medical community has started doing “donation chains,” where a group of donor-recipient pairs are matched so that everyone who receives a kidney has a paired donor that gives one to someone else.

That, as it turns out, has created its own problem: given a large pool of donors and recipients, how do you pull a set of optimized donor chains out? It turns out that the optimization belongs to a set of mathematical problems that are called NP-hard, making them extremely difficult to calculate as the length of the chain goes up. But now, some researchers have developed algorithms that can solve the typical challenges faced by hospitals with the processing power of a desktop computer.

Source: The math of organ donation: kidneys are an NP-hard problem

This is an article for why you did that math in high school/post-secondary 😉