17:56 15 May 2017
Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other similar gadgets have been marketed for health monitoring. However, so far, the health benefits of tracking heart rate or step count has been unproven.
A recent study presented at the Heart Rhythm Society’s annual meeting suggests that this could be because we’re not putting them to use in the most effective way. Researchers conducted the study in the hopes of finding out whether or not heart rate sensors could be used to monitor and detect a specific heart problem: atrial fibrillation. To do so, they paired optical blood volume sensors commonly found in smart watches with a deep-learning algorithm to hunt for irregularities.
The UCSF study was participated by 6,156 users and with the use of Cardiogram app. The Health Heart Study trained an artificial neural network to automatically detect atrial fibrillation, which increases the risk of heart failure and stroke. In another study participated by 51 patients who are scheduled to undergo a procedure to restore their normal heart rhythms, an Apple Watch was able to correctly detect atrial fibrillation with an accuracy of 97per cent before and after surgery.
“Part of that message here is to determine if this tech is even useful to health,” said senior study author Gregory Marcus, the director of clinical research for UCSF’s cardiology department. “Simply marketing this as health tech is not sufficient. Companies should be working with clinical researchers to figure out unmet healthcare needs and what works for patients.”