Studies find that smartwatches can track the symptoms of COVID-19

For example, they found that patients with COVID-19 experienced an increase in heart rate per step after the onset of symptoms. On the other hand, those who reported coughing as one of the symptoms of COVID-19 had a much higher heart rate per step than those who did not cough.

“Previously, we developed various algorithms for analyzing data from wearable devices. Therefore, when a COVID-19 pandemic occurs, we apply some of these algorithms to better progress the disease. It was natural to see if we could understand it well, “said Caleb Mayer, a doctoral student in mathematics at the University of Michigan. Co-lead author of the study.

Millions of people track their heart rate through wearable devices. This information has already generated a huge amount of data for researchers to analyze, says Daniel Forger, a professor of mathematics at the University of Michigan and a research professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics. ..

“Heart rate is affected by many different physiological signals,” explains Forger. “For example, if your lungs aren’t functioning properly, you may need to beat your heart faster to meet your metabolic needs. Your heart rate has a natural daily rhythm controlled by your body clock. “There are.” People may not feel the direct effect of COVID-19 on the heart internally, but he says, “Heart rate is a vital sign that gives a complete picture of your overall health.” I’m adding.

Of the total of 2,164 participants enrolled in the student study, 72 undergraduate and graduate students were infected with COVID-19 and provided wearable data from 50 to 14 days after the onset of symptoms. Researchers also analyzed this type of data from 43 medical intern from the Michigan Neuroscience Institute’s Intern Health Survey and 29 individuals (not affiliated with the university) from public datasets. Did.

Participants can wear the device on either wrist. They also recorded COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, body pain, loss of taste, loss of odor, and sore throat.

Experts not involved in the study felt that the study was productive. “This study is pioneering and reveals exciting new insights into many key ways in which consumer wearable devices can derive clinically important information about disease progression,” said the technology. Lisa A. Marsh, director of the Health Center, said. She is a professor at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine. “Heart rate data is one of the highest quality data available through wearables.”

Beyond the heart, she adds, “wearable devices offer new insights into an individual’s physiology and behavior in many areas of health.” In particular, “this study beautifully shows how digital health methodologies can significantly enhance our understanding of the differences between an individual’s illness and health experience.”

Previous studies have shown that COVID-19 affects cardiovascular function. Using this knowledge, Michigan University’s efforts have made “a big step forward”, a researcher at the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and an expert in the science of chronobiology, or biological rhythms. One Gisele Oda says. She praises researchers for developing complex algorithms that “can extract useful information beyond the established knowledge that heart rate increases and becomes more irregular in COVID patients.”

Wearable devices open up the possibility of acquiring large, long, continuous, real-time heart rate data during daily activities and during sleep. “Importantly, the conceptual basis of this algorithm revolves around circadian rhythms,” says Oda, referring to the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow the 24-hour cycle. “What we knew before was often based on short-term heart rates measured at any time of the day,” she adds, with heart rates changing day and night. I pointed out that it also changes depending on the activity.

However, it is difficult to determine if the heart rate signal is unique to COVID-19 or if it occurs in other illnesses, unless compared to a control group with common flu, Harvard Spirit. John Torous, an assistant professor of medicine, says. School of medicine that has been researching wearable devices. In addition, he points out recent data, showing that many wearables that work by shining light through the skin can be less accurate in people with dark skin due to fluctuations in light absorption. I am.

The results sound interesting, but they lack the level of definitive evidence that physicians need to transform the way they care for their patients. “But it’s a good step to learn what these wearables teach us,” said Torous, director of digital psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an affiliate of Harvard University in Boston. increase. In the follow-up step, the results need to be replicated to another people’s pool in order to “help realize the full value of this work”.

It is important to note that this study was conducted in a university environment in the early stages of a pandemic, with strict quarantine and quarantine obligations in place, and distance learning was in full swing. The findings show that physiological monitoring can be performed using consumer-grade wearable sensors, allowing the study to continue without direct contact, the University of Michigan, Principal Investigator for Student Studies. Says Sung Won Choi, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many activities that rely on face-to-face interactions, including clinical research,” says Choi. “Mobile technology proved to be very beneficial during the semester, as it was able to remotely collect detailed physiological data from study participants.” In fact, the researchers were involved in the study. I was not in direct contact with the students. “Everything was virtually done,” Choi explains. “Importantly, by combining the willingness to participate in research and share data in this historic era with secure cloud storage and the capabilities of new theoretical analysis, our research team is in the heart. We were able to identify a unique pattern. -Rate data related to COVID-19. “


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