Can your Fitbit or Apple Watch detect a coronavirus infection before the onset of symptoms?
Last month, scientists at the Rockefeller Institute of Neuroscience at West Virginia University stated that they had created a digital platform that could detect COVID-19 symptoms three days before the appearance of the Wearable Fitness and Activity Tracker Oura Ring.
According to the university, the application developed by the researchers uses artificial intelligence to predict the onset of symptoms related to COVID-19, such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and fatigue.
Researchers say the system can provide clues to infection for people who have not yet shown symptoms-helping to solve one of the problems of detection and containment of deadly outbreaks.
In addition, the Scripps Research Institute recruited more than 30,000 people, and the goal is more. This similar study aims to use wearable devices to find “symptomatic” and asymptomatic people with COVID-19.
Scripps researchers have previously demonstrated the value of wearable devices in predicting influenza in a study published in the British journal The Lancet in January.
Scripps epidemiologist Jennifer Latin, who is in charge of the study, said that early signs indicate that the device “has the potential to identify people who are pre-symptomatic but still infectious.”
Radin said in an online conference to discuss the research that wearable devices detect “subtle changes that indicate that you are suffering from a viral disease” before symptoms begin.
Scripps researchers say they want to prove that wearable data is more reliable than temperature checks.
Latin said: “40% of people with COVID do not have a fever.” “This can be used to screen people, better than temperature checks.”
For example, resting heart rate is a good indicator because it is usually consistent before infection and can be accurately measured by most wearable devices.
Laden said: “We saw these changes (heart rate) four days before someone had a fever.”
Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Institute, said that the idea of using wearable devices is promising because “more than 100 million Americans have smart watches or fitness straps that can be used for research The personnel provide key data, but to obtain good results, it depends on the increase in its volume.” Number” to join the research.
California health technology start-up Evidation also launched a project that will use the wearable devices of 300 people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus to generate early warning algorithms, and receive funding from the US government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation .
Luca Foschini, co-founder and chief data scientist of Evidation, said that the purpose of this study is to “more effectively identify when and where people can be infected with COVID-19, and possibly through real-time interventions to limit transmission and monitor results.”
Similar research is underway in Germany.
From entertainment to medicine
The latest research highlights that some wearable devices-originally developed for fitness and recreational purposes-may be used in important medical research.
Apple has begun to study how its smart watches can detect heart problems. Fitbit has been collaborating with about 500 different projects to study cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and other health issues.
Scientists say that wearable devices can provide data on body temperature, heart and breathing rate, sleep and activity patterns, and other indicators, which can be used as diagnostic tools.
Researchers at Stanford University announced in April a plan to collaborate with Scripps in research on wearable devices for COVID-19 and other diseases.
Michael Snyder, head of the Department of Genetics at Stanford Medical School, said: “Smartwatches and other wearable devices take many measurements every day, at least 250,000 times, which makes them such powerful surveillance devices.”
Snyder said these devices may alert users when their heart rate, skin temperature, or other physiological signals are infected or other diseases.
“You might be thinking,’Are these allergies to snuff, or am I sick?’ These algorithms can help people determine whether they should stay at home while the body is fighting infection.”
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