Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Apple Watch accurately detects hypertension and sleep apnea, study finds

Apple watch Apple Watch accurately detects hypertension and sleep apnea, study finds
Sherri Watson | 15 November, 2017, 07:36

The University of California San Francisco and Health startup Cardiogram have partnered together on another study aiming to provide details on just how well the Apple Watch is able to detect common health problems.

"What if we could transform wearables people already own - Apple Watches, Android Wears, Garmins, and Fitbits - into low-cost, everyday screening tools using artificial intelligence?" wrote Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger in a Medium post.

The study proved accurate enough in its diagnosis of these conditions that Cardiogram believes with additional research, wearables like the Apple Watch could be used as a cheap way to diagnose these conditions. About 90 per cent of the time it was able to accurately detect those with sleep apnea; 82 per cent of the time it accurately detected hypertension.

Nine to 21 percent of women and 24 to 31 percent of men have sleep apnea, according the American Sleep Association. In addition, 80 percent of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea remain undiagnosed. Sleep apnea was detected in more than 1,016 participants, while hypertension was identified in 2,230 participants.

In the study, 6,115 participants used the Cardiogram app and their Apple Watch to monitor their vital stats.

The study tapped Cardiogram, an Apple Watch application created to monitor heart activity and flag irregularities. Researchers trained a machine learning algorithm called DeepHeart on data from 70 per cent of participants, both those with sleep apnea and hypertension and those without. Right now most patients must go to the doctor and wait to be tested at sporadic intervals, making it hard to detect if there's a spike in blood pressure in the moment when it becomes critical, and even harder to tell if someone is suffering from sleep apnea, as that is something that happens while the person is asleep. "And then you'd guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment". The idea is that your Fitbit or AppleWatch's heart rate sensor would automatically, constantly screen for those conditions, and flag you to visit the doctor if the algorithm detected anything abnormal.