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New research shows how Apple Watch can help detect COVID-19 before symptoms and testing

A pair of new studies highlighted by a CBS News The report shows that smartwatches such as the Apple Watch can help detect COVID-19 before symptoms appear or a positive test. Studies conducted separately from Mount Sinai’s health system in New York and Stanford University in California give experts hope that the Apple Watch could help “play a vital role in stopping the pandemic and other infectious diseases.”

A study by Mount Sinai found that the Apple Watch was able to detect “subtle changes in an individual’s heart rate” up to seven days before the onset of COVID-1

9 symptoms or a positive test. The study analyzed heart rate variability or time variation between heart attacks and included nearly 300 healthcare workers who wore Apple watches between April 29 and September 29.

This is a commonly used measure of how well a person’s immune system works, the report explains.

“Our goal was to use tools to identify infections during an infection or before people realized they were sick,” said Rob Hirten, a medical assistant at Icahn Medical School in Mount Sinai in New York City and author of Warrior Watch. study.

“We already knew that markers of heart rate variability changed with the development of inflammation in the body, and Covid is an incredible inflammatory event,” Hirten told CBS MoneyWatch. “It allows us to predict that people are infected before they know it.”

“We currently rely on people who say they are sick and not feeling well, but wearing an Apple Watch does not require active input from the user and can identify people who may be asymptomatic. This is a way to better control infectious diseases, “Hirten said.

Meanwhile, a separate study from Stanford, the results of which were published in November, includes activity trackers from Garmin, Fitbit and Apple. The study found that these devices could show changes in resting heart rate “up to nine and a half days before the onset of symptoms” in patients with coronavirus positive.

The researchers were able to identify nearly two-thirds of cases of COVID-19 four to seven days before symptoms, the study said.

The team has also set up an alarm system that warns wearers that their heart rate has risen for an extended period of time.

“We set the alarm with a certain sensitivity so that it goes off every two months or so,” said Stanford University professor Michael Snyder, who led the study. “Regular fluctuations will not trigger the alarm – only significant, lasting changes will take place.”

“It’s a big deal because it warns people not to go out and meet people,” he added. For example, when Snyder’s alarm recently went off, he canceled a face-to-face meeting in case he might be infected.

Snyder went on to explain that this type of technology can help address shortcomings in test strategies. “The problem is, you can’t do it [testing] to people all the time as long as these devices measure you 24/7, ”he explained.

Apple does not fund or participate in any of these studies, unlike other smartwatch and wearable companies that have commissioned similar studies, such as Oura Health and Whoop.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a model last week showing how the Apple Watch and other smartwatches can help curb the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic carriers.

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