Research studies by healthcare startup, Cardiogram, and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) suggest that wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch, and others can detect serious issues such as hypertension and sleep apnea.
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. Then people were sent for further examination, confirmed him to have more of a predisposition to hypertension and impaired ventilation during sleep.
Part of the goal of the work is to determine whether technology like the Apple Watch can even be useful for health at all. On this, the algorithm returned its 90 percent sleep apnea and 82 percent hypertension accuracy - a performance described by authors of the study as "surprisingly good". In this case, the algorithm was able to detect arrhythmia in study participants with 97 percent accuracy. Current methods for diagnosing sleep apnea are much more involved than simply wearing an Apple Watch while you sleep, requiring hoards of sensors and leads to be attached to the body during sleep. Both conditions are common but often go undiagnosed, yet can lead to life-threatening problems like a stroke or heart attack. DeepHeart was trained on data from 70 percent of participants and tested on the 30 percent of participants that weren't the same participants used to collect the data.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, approximately 22 million USA citizens suffer from sleep apnea.
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The crucial difference an Apple Watch or other heart rate-monitoring wearable has over visiting a doctor is its ability to constantly monitor and record data.
At first glance, the association between heart rate, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea may seem surprising.
Cardiogram and UCSF's study on heart health is the third major study of deep learning in medicine, following Google Brain's results on diabetic eye disease in December of 2016 and a Stanford study on skin cancer this January. The study found that out of the 6,115 people who participated, sleep apnea was detected in 1,016 of those people had high blood pressure in 2,230 of them.