A new study finds that fitness trackers like the Apple Watch can detect if its user has symptoms of covid-19 before it’s even there. All thanks to the heart variability rate sensors on the device.
The study conducted by Mount Sinai Health System shows Apple Watch can detect changes in an individual’s heart rate variability 7 days before any sign of Covid-19 appears. Involving 300 health care workers, the research took place between 29 April and 29 September.
In the study, the heart rate variability sensors on Apple Watch were used to track abnormality in the heart variability rate. Which, according to research, can help detect early signs of covid or other diseases.
Its good to know that heart rate variability is different than the heartbeat rate. A heart rate variability shows that a body is resilient towards unwanted conditions. In comparison, a higher heartbeat rate could be worrisome.
The heart variability rate is the time between two heartbeats. Normally, the heart rate variability changes depending on the effects on the nervous system due to changing conditions like relaxing, stressing or other. However, when a body is infected, particularly by inflammatory infections, the nervous system starts reacting slower, hence lowering the heart rate variability numbers.
The author of the Mount Sinai study, Rob Hirten, said in an interview with CBS News;
“Right now, we rely on people saying they’re sick and not feeling well, but wearing an Apple Watch doesn’t require any active user input and can identify people who might be asymptomatic. It’s a way to better control infectious diseases. We already knew that heart rate variability markers change as inflammation develops in the body, and Covid is an incredibly inflammatory event. It allows us to predict that people are infected before they know it.”
Another study conducted at Stanford University led by Professor Michael Snyder tested fitness trackers like Apple Watch. It found that these wearables can detect the Covid-19 pandemic nine and half days before the pandemic symptoms appear. The study also shows the value these trackers provide in terms of consistent monitoring that is helpful in swifter detection of viruses.
Interestingly, neither Apple, nor other wearable tracker maker contributed in the study.
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