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Smartwatches could be the latest COVID-19 detection tools

Apple TattoGate
Posted at 9:59 AM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 10:08:41-05

We learn more about the novel coronavirus day by day. And now, researchers are looking at smartwatches to see how they can help detect COVID-19.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital had already been looking at wearables to see what information they could give about diseases that cause inflammation, which COVID-19 also causes.

“We saw this as an opportunity to pivot and used what we had been learning and using before with wearable technology, and try to see how we could use it to address the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, in New York City, especially in March and April, when it was getting very severe,” said Dr. Rob Hirten, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Heartrate variability gives some information about inflammation. That's the time difference between each heartbeat, and Apple Watches already collect that information.

“Interestingly from that, you could derive a sense of the activity of someone's nervous system, their autonomic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that controls your bodily functions, kind of without you even thinking about it,” said Hirten.

Even though researchers are still studying this smartwatch technology, they're hoping it will eventually be used to help mitigate and control the spread of the coronavirus.

The optimistic, even if it's only a small portion of people who are diagnosed using smartwatch information, especially people who are asymptomatic.

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