A study by The University of California San Francisco and the health startup Cardiogram is aiming to provide details about how well you can use your Apple Watch to detect common health problems such as sleep apnea and hypertension.
The research was shared at an American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim and revealed that the Apple Watch is capable of detecting sleep apnea with 90% accuracy and hypertension with 82% accuracy.
In conjunction with the Cardiogram app, over 6,000 participants were invited to use the Apple Watch over a period of time. Sleep apnea was detected in 1,016 of the group and hypertension in 2,230 testers. The app’s co-founder Johnson Hsieh explained how this study perfectly illustrates how the Apple Watch can be used to track continuously, alerting people that they show signs of a particular problem and when to seek additional testing and treatment:
“The idea here is that by screening continuously you would identify people with hypertension who might not know they have it,” said Hsieh. “And then you’d guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment.”
Wired has delved even deeper into the DeepHeart platform that the study is based on and explains how the company uses a neural network to interpret data such as a user’s heart rate and step count:
Cardiogram’s engineers took the kind of artificial neural networks that Google and others use to turn our speech into text and adapted them to interpret heart-rate and step count data. (Like speech, they are signals that vary over time.)
The system, dubbed DeepHeart, is given strings of heart-rate and step data from multiple people, and information about their health conditions.
Earlier this year, Apple announced their partnership with Stanford University to bring the new Apple Heart Rate study and this is only one part of the company’s ambitious plans for the future. As time progresses, studies such as this demonstrate just how monumental the Apple Watch could be in the healthcare industry.