Our smartwatch could detect hypertension and sleep apnea, a new study reveals

Our smartwatch could detect hypertension and sleep apnea, a new study reveals

The app would advise that the wearer should get tested and it would not propose that the person has one of those conditions.

Though the study was conducted through the Apple Watch, Cardiogram co-founder and study lead Johnson Hsieh believes it shows promise for most wearables that incorporate a heart-rate sensor as "they basically all have the same technology built inside", he told TechCrunch.

The current study used a sample of 6,115 participants. "So there is this major undiagnosed problem".

Sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million adults in the US, with another 80 percent of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. A study independent of Apple presented in May has already suggested the answer is yes. 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. The Apple Watch AI will continuously track people, preventing them when hypertension signs appear.

Data collected from the Apple watches was interpreted by the deep neural network of DeepHeart, which recognized hypertension and sleep apnea.

In the study, it showed that a week of Apple Watch data could predict hypertension and sleep apnea with varying accuracies.

Doctors don't-and probably couldn't-diagnose high blood pressure or sleep apnea just by eyeballing a week's worth of data from your smartwatch. "The difficulty with this is, if you have sleep apnea you are likely to develop heart disease and develop abnormal heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation". Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist and executive director of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California, says the idea of inferring conditions indirectly from heart rate and step counts needs more testing. Cardiogram says it has more research underway, and expects accuracy to improve.

"What if we could transform wearables people already own - Apple Watches, Android Wears, Garmins, and Fitbits - into low-priced, everyday screening tools using artificial intelligence?" wrote Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger in a Medium post. "The study is seeing a correlation and that's important to know, but the value is still unproven for medicine", she says.

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