- Two months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company's "greatest contribution to mankind" would be in health.
- A new study led by Stanford researchers provides a glimpse that
- But there are caveats. How that vision is beginning to take shape
- But there are caveats. For one, the study did not include the most recent Apple Watch, which has an additional feature that helps detect heart problems.
- The study looked at whether the watch can detect atrial fibrillation, or a common but potentially serious disorder. . Other tech companies like Fitbit are also trying to detect it
Roughly two months after Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company "greatest contribution to mankind" would be in health, a new study provides the first glimpse at how that vision is beginning to take shape
The unprecedented analysis, known as the Apple Heart Study, involved teaming up with cardiologists at Stanford University and studying more than 400,000 people. Their aim was to find the Apple Watch and its heart rate sensor properly pick up on irregularities a people's heartbeat.
An early look at the work suggests it can. Of course, there are caveats.
The researchers are scheduled to present a summary of the Apple-sponsored study at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting on Saturday in New Orleans. The full study has not been published.
According to their presentation, the watch appeared capable of picking up on abnormalities linked to a common but serious condition called atrial fibrillation or afib. Afib is an irregular heart beat, and people with the condition can experience shortness of breath and poor blood flow. The condition can also increase the risk of more serious problems like stroke and heart failure
"The study's findings have the potential to help patients and clinicians understand how devices like the Apple Watch can play a role in detecting conditions such as atrial fibrillation. , a deadly and often undiagnosed disease, "Mintu Turakhia, the study's lead author and an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford, said in a statement.
While the research offers a hopeful glimpse of the power of the Apple Watch to improve people's health, there is also potential for the device to overburden the healthcare system, according to some researchers.
An example of tech giants with their eyes on health
Apple Valley is the only tech tech giant with its eye on health. In recent years, companies such as Facebook, Google parent company Alphabet, and Fitbit have all made an effort to detect and prevent illness ̵
Outside experts who reviewed Apple's latest study of strengths and weaknesses in how it was done. Some major bright spots include the fact that it was collaborated with a well-respected university like Stanford, including lots of people, and took place over a fairly long time period. Additionally, the study design was separate from Apple, who funded it.
"This study is a great example of tech of how to design future studies," Mohamed Elshazly, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College who reviewed The study's design and saw its preliminary results, business insider
One big caveat: The study did not include the latest Apple Watch with its ECG
Still, Elshazly and Other experts warned that the study had some important caveats.
The biggest? It didn't include the most recent Apple Watch, the series 4.
That watch, released after the study, features a built-in electrocardiogram or ECG, the medical test typically used to detect heart-rhythm problems. ] The series 4 was also the source of some controversy: experts told that the device would be over-diagnosed with irregularities, sending a lot of healthy people running to their doctors.
"Imagine the impact on a health care system as thousands of young , healthy people suddenly want to schedule appointments with cardiologists, "Larry Husten, the former editor of TheHeart.Org, wrote a recent opinion piece for Stat News.
But previous versions of the Apple Watch still have something else that can be Used to check on your heart.
The series 1, 2, and 3 versions of the watch contain what are known as optical heart-rate pulse sensors. They use lights to take your pulse. So for the Stanford study, Turakhia and his co-investigators studied 400,000 people with one of these Apple Watches.
When people's Apple picked up on an irregularity, they reported the participant with a pop-up and asked them to schedule a video chat with a doctor involved. in the study. Then, to check that the irregular readings were correct, the researchers sent those participants ECG patches.
The Apple Watch identified heart problems in a small number of people
The study came away with some positive findings. They suggest that the Apple Watch does a fairly good job of detecting problems in people who have them, especially in cases where the problem also happens. But in some cases, the devices also detect problems when there is no.
This phenomenon, known in clinical parlance as a false-positive, is most concerning when it affects a large number of people. At first glance, this doesn't seem to be an issue with Apple's study: out of more than 400,000 participants, only 0.5% (or 2,000 people) got notifications indicating they had an irregular heart rate.
However, when you consider that several million people are already using Apple Watches, that 0.5% figure could actually be quite troubling, Elshazly said, especially when you consider the fact that sometimes the notifications are wrong. Apple Watch 2 ” onerror=”this.style.display=’none;'” class=”lazy” src=”https://www.businessinsider.in/thumb/msid-60085318,width-640,resizemode-4/default-businessinsider-india.jpg” data-original=”https://static-ssl.businessinsider.com/image/5c8c358a124d046332417865-1709/apple watch-2.jpg” title=”” width=”” height=””/> Hollis Johnson