How the Apple Watch is enabling researchers in exploring new frontiers in heart health | Wearables News

How the Apple Watch is enabling researchers in exploring new frontiers in heart health

Apple has shared information around three new initiatives on how the Apple Watch is being used by researchers in exploring newer areas in heart health. Check details.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 22 2023, 14:16 IST
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1/5 Apple has launched three new Apple Watch models - the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra, the most upgraded version of all.  (Apple)
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2/5 The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with the new body temperature sensor as well as the new Cycle Tracking features for women health. It includes information about ovulation. Moreover, it also supports Car Crash detection. It can offer up to 36 hours of battery life with Low Power Mode. (Apple)
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3/5 The Apple Watch SE has the same crash detection feature. It has the same SoC as the Series 8, that means it is 20 percent faster than the previous version. (Apple)
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4/5 Apple Watch Ultra is for extreme athletes, including ultra marathoners, expert divers and others. Here, the side button is designed to work even when you are wearing gloves. Moreover, there are two speakers and microphones too to get good quality calls. It gets up to 36 hours of life on a single charge
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5/5 Apple Watch Series 8 is priced at $399 for GPS and $499 for cellular. The Apple Watch SE starts at $249 for GPS and $299 for cellular, while the Apple Watch Utlra costs $799 (Rs. 89,900).  (Apple)
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Know how researchers are using Apple Watch to learn more about heart health. (Apple)

Apple Watches have become renowned for their life-saving capabilities, with reports emerging from all over the world of people's lives being saved by the popular smartwatch. In an incident last year, the Apple Watch Series 8 detected signs of a heart attack in a woman, leading to her receiving timely medical intervention that saved her life. Another incident saw a cyclist who had fallen into a river being rescued after the Apple Watch sent alerts to the authorities and emergency contacts. Now, researchers are looking to use these smartwatches' heart health capabilities to further “explore new frontiers in heart health”. Apple has shared details on the research, highlighting the role the smartwatch's ECG app is playing in facilitating potentially groundbreaking research. Let's take a look.

In an announcement, Apple said, “To further drive discoveries that improve health at scale, Apple launched the Investigator Support Program. Through this program, Apple provides researchers with Apple Watch devices, enabling them to break new ground in health research, including the scientific understanding of the heart”.

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Apple Watch to play a role in heart health research

Two senior pediatric oncologists from Melbourne, Australia, Associate professor Rachel Conyers and Dr. Claudia Toro, are dedicating their time caring for children at a tertiary pediatric oncology clinic and conducting studies on the toxicities related to cancer therapies in children at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. They will now be using the Apple Watch to research how cancer treatment affects heart rhythms in children and how this can be changed.

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“I read about the Apple Heart Study and I thought this could be important for pediatrics. We used to think of cardiac toxicity as something that happened 10 years after treatment. But now we know that new cancer therapies (like specific inhibitors or immune therapy) can cause arrhythmias within 48 hours of medication — so there's a big gap in terms of what we know about the toxicities at the moment,” said Dr. Conyers.

Another research under Apple Investigator Support Program is being conducted in Texas and involves fire-fighters. Dr. So-Min Cheong, an associate professor in the Public Service & Administration Department at the Bush School, Texas A&M University, in Palo Alto, California is studying the personal impact of wildfire smoke on cardiac health in firefighters. Apple Watch is helping him in maintaining long term data around the fire fighter's heart health and to find if there are any long-term ramifications from the smoke.

Dr. Sebastiaan Blok from the Amsterdam University Medical Centers is leading a study to detect atrial fibrillation at an early stage and the Apple Watch is playing a big role. “As part of their study, they plan to enroll more than 300 patients over the age of 65 who meet a risk threshold for AFib. Half of the participants — the intervention group — will wear Apple Watch for at least 12 hours per day” the Apple report stated.

Participants in the study group are required to take an ECG every three weeks or whenever they experience symptoms. In the event that a participant receives an irregular rhythm notification, the researchers will reach out to them and provide instructions to take an ECG and share the results.

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First Published Date: 22 Feb, 14:15 IST
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