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. This time around, the study focusses on sleep apnea and hypertension…
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The study, shared today at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, reveals that the Apple Watch is capable of detecting sleep apnea with 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with 82 percent accuracy.
The study was conducted through the Cardiogram app with over 6,00 participants invited to use the Apple Watch over a period time. Cardiogram was able to detect sleep apnea in 1,016 of the participants and hypertension in 2,230 of the testers, according to TechCrunch.
Cardiogram’s co-founder and study lead Johnson Hsieh explained that this study illustrates how the Apple Watch could be used to track continuously, alerting people that they show signs of hypertension and to seek additional testing and treatment:
“The idea here is that by screening continuously you would identify people with hypertension who might not know they have it,” said Hsieh. “And then you’d guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment.”
A report from Wired dives deeper into the DeepHeart platform that Cardiogram’s study is based on, explaining how the company used a neural network to interpret heart rate and step count data:
Cardiogram’s engineers took the kind of artificial neural networks that Google and others use to turn our speech into text and adapted them to interpret heart-rate and step count data. (Like speech, they are signals that vary over time.)
The system, dubbed DeepHeart, is given strings of heart-rate and step data from multiple people, and information about their health conditions.
Apple has very ambitious health plans for the Apple Watch and announced the new Apple Heart Rate study earlier this year in partnership with Stanford University. watchOS 4 brings a host of new heart tracking features to the Apple Watch as part of those efforts.
Studies like Cardiogram’s illustrate just how monumental Apple Watch could be in the health care industry as time progresses, and it will certainly be interesting to see how Apple expands capabilities in the future.