The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how quickly humans can adapt even to the most adverse conditions. In just a year, we not only got used to walking everywhere in masks and treating our hands with sanitizers but also began to be completely casual about the danger of infection. Despite this, I think no one would refuse to stop performing all these rituals. But if vaccination seems to be the most likely way to get rid of the restrictions associated with COVID-19 in most doctors’ minds, then some of them believe that the Apple Watch will do just as well.
Doctors teach Apple Watch to detect COVID-19, and they are doing well.
A study conducted by doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York showed that Apple Watch could detect subtle changes in a person’s heartbeat, characteristic of infection with COVID-19. The experiment, which lasted for six months, involved 300 volunteers from among the medical personnel from the so-called red zone. As a result, those who contracted the new coronavirus infection showed an increase in heart rate recorded by the Apple Watch.
How Apple Watch Detects COVID-19?
COVID-19 causes inflammation, which in turn increases heart rate. Apple Watch relies on these readings.
We’ve known for a long time that heart rate variability changes as the body develops inflammation, and COVID-19 is an incredibly potent trigger of inflammation. This knowledge allows us to detect contamination even before the patients themselves feel any symptoms and apply for a test. Thanks to its high sensitivity, Apple Watch can detect signs of infection even in asymptomatic patients, ”said Rob Hirter, associate professor of cardiology at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine.
In general, the effectiveness of detecting signs of COVID-19 using the Apple Watch was quite high. The researchers were able to diagnose in this way 2/3 of cases of infection 4-7 days before the onset of symptoms characteristic of new coronavirus infection. This is pretty good. But researchers at Stanford University have gone even further in the practice of detecting COVID-19 by increasing the heart rate. They were able to train the Apple Watch to record signs of infection for 9.5 days before symptoms appeared.
Diagnose diseases using Apple Watch.
Even though diagnostics of the smallest changes in heart rate became possible thanks to the high accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which is equipped with the Apple Watch, scientists have done a lot of work to correct the changes taking place using the software. They had to teach the clock to distinguish between regular fluctuations, which manifests itself in many people even at rest, from minor, but persistent changes characteristic of inflammation due to infection.
Above – the heart rate of a healthy person, below – the rhythm of a person with the flu.
Developers were the first to talk about Apple Watch’s ability to diagnose signs of infection Cardiogram apps. They analyzed the condition of a healthy person and a person with the flu and concluded that the disease makes the heart beat faster. Moreover, this is most pronounced precisely at night, when a person is sleeping. During this period, it is easier for the body to resist the disease. He begins to more actively pump blood with antibodies, directing them to fight infection.
But if the Cardiogram developers taught the Apple Watch to identify signs of infection in general, scientists at Mount Sinai and Stanford University are working to identify exactly COVID-19. Apparently, this is quite realistic, given the strong inflammatory processes that the new coronavirus infection provokes. If all goes well, the Apple Watch could be an excellent diagnostic tool, capable (at least in theory) of quarantining patients before they infect large numbers of people.