Your Apple Watch Can Detect Diabetes

A new study suggests the Apple Watch and other devices can be used to catch the symptoms of diabetes.

Cardiogram has an app that analyzes heart-rate data, which is collected by Apple. The app’s researchers teamed up with the University of California, San Francisco and have had an 85 percent success rate in determining which wearers have diabetes.

Over 14,000 people participated in the study, which examined over 200 million sensor measurements from Apple Watches, Android Wear devices, and the Cardiogram app. The researchers monitored heart rate, step count, and other activities.

According to Diabetes Canada, about 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes, and nearly 50 per cent of those with prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

It can be difficult to diagnosis prediabetes without glucose-sensing hardware. However, AI-based algorithms such as Cardiogram’s DeepHeart are able to alert users that there may have a medical issue.

Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger told Upbeat: “While there have been many attempts to build special-purpose glucose-sensing hardware to detect diabetes, this is the first large-scale study showing that ordinary heart rate sensors—when paired with an artificial intelligence-based algorithm—can identify early signs of diabetes. By detecting diabetes earlier, we can help people live longer and healthier lives.”

The app detects the disease through heart rate patterns.

The company’s co-founder Johnson Hsieh added, “Your heart is connected with your pancreas via the autonomic nervous system. As people develop the early stages of diabetes, their pattern of heart rate variability shifts.”

Diabetes is not the only medical condition that the Apple Watch can detect. It’s also attuned to issues such as hypertension, sleep apnea, and atrial fibrillation.

Hsieh noted, “These health conditions are important since 19 per cent of people with hypertension, 80 per cent of people with sleep apnea, and roughly 20 per cent of people with atrial fibrillation remain undiagnosed.”

Cardiogram is compatible with all versions of the Apple Watch and any Android Wear watch with a heart rate sensor, such s the Huawei Watch, LG Watch Sport, LG Watch Urbane, Moto 360, New Balance RunIQ, Polar M600, Montblanc Summit, Misfit Vapor, and Mobvoi Ticwatch S&E.

Cardiogram’s study was presented at the Thirty-Second AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in New Orleans earlier this month.


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