Apple Watch Can Detect Covid 19 Before Symptoms Arise New Study Shows

A new study has shown that Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin and other devices can detect Covid-19 even before the wearer has a clue they’re infected. Smartwatches are increasingly effective as health monitoring devices, with the latest models offering metrics such as blood oxygen level measurements (and blood oxygen levels can be a useful indicator right now as it’s related to Covid19). But a new study from Mount Sinai Health System in New York, reported by CBS News, has found that smartwatches capable of continuous or frequent heart rate monitoring can detect subtle changes in a wearer’s heartbeat. These changes can signal the wearer has Covid-19 as early as seven days before any symptoms are felt or the infection can be picked up in testing. The study followed almost 300 Mount Sinai health care workers with Apple Watches between April 29 and September 29, 2020. Apple was not involved in participating in or funding the study. Rob Hirten, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said: “Our goal was to use tools to identify infections at time of infection or before people knew they were sick. We already knew that heart rate variability markers change as inflammation develops in the body, and Covid is an incredibly inflammatory event. It allows us to predict that people are infected before they know it.”The study showed that the variability in heart rate, that is the variation in time between heart beats was different in people with Covid-19 compared to those without. High heart rate variability does not mean an elevated heart rate. It indicates that an individual’s nervous system is active, adaptable and more resilient to stress. All of which is important because, it seems more than half of cases of Covid-19 are spread by asymptomatic carriers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If a carrier can learn that they have Covid-19, even without showing symptoms, they can be careful to self-isolate. One of the benefits of devices like the Apple Watch is that they are always on the owner’s wrist, providing a way of data-gathering that’s constant and effortless – the Watch does all the work retrieving data, there’s no input required from the wearer. There have been other studies, including one from Stanford University and one by Fitbit which similarly aim to find indications of Covid-19 as early as possible. The next stage will be for the wearable to inform the wearer of the discovered indications. Even if the thought that your Watch could tell you that you have Covid-19 is not a pleasant thought, your friends and relatives spared from you spreading the disease to them could be very grateful. Click here to follow me on Facebook or Instagram: davidphelantech and Twitter: @davidphelan2009

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