Minding His Own Business [Watch]

UT neuroscientist Russell Poldrack is on a very personal quest to better understand mental disorders. In an era when data-crunching wristbands, mobile apps, and even electronic forks help people track—and hack—their own physical states, Poldrack is a leader and an outlier.

For a yearlong period, Poldrack is cataloguing every detail of his life. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he spends half an hour in an MRI machine in the basement of UT’s Hackerman building before taking blood samples, blood pressure, and a questionnaire on his mood. In between, he keeps tabs on what he eats and drinks and how much he sleeps. There is even a team sequencing his genome.

Poldrack hopes to be the first of many self-tracking experiments designed to map healthy brains, giving scientists a control group that may help unlock the secrets of afflictions like bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

 

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