THE Apple Watch can detect early signs of diabetes with 85 per cent accuracy using its built-in heart rate sensor, according to a clinical study.
The research tapped into data from 14,000 Apple Watch users and was able to detect that 462 of them had diabetes, with a little help from an artificial intelligence algorithm.
According to Diabetes UK, almost 3.6 million Brits suffer from diabetes, making it the “fastest growing health threat” facing the country.
The latest study – a collaboration between University of California San Francisco (USCF) and Apple Watch app-maker Cardiogram – is the latest to push the health benefits of the popular smartwatch, which shifted 18 million units in the last three months of 2017 alone.
Researchers from USCF fed the mound of heart rate data to Cardiogram’s DeepHeart algorithm to help train it (AI systems typically require vast amounts of information to help them to get smarter).
Because your heart is connected with your pancreas, via the body’s automatic nervous system, people who develop the early stages of diabetes witness a shift in their pattern of heart rate variability.
Overall, Cardiogram saw an accuracy rate of 85 percent, which was good enough to warrant further medical tests to confirm the diagnosis.
In the past, Cardiogram’s AI has also shown that wearables fitted with heart rate sensors and accelerometers can detect the presence of hypertension and sleep apnea, with 82 percent and 90 percent accuracy respectively.
That same tech can also be found in devices from the likes of Google’s Android Wear, Garmin, and Fitbit.
Next up, the company plans to integrate the AI into its app, so it can flag indicators of diabetes and pre-diabetes by the end of the year.
But, Apple might just beat it to the punch, courtesy of a rumoured future device that can help monitor blood glucose levels – something the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs originally set out to accomplish.
There have been numerous stories of the Apple Watch alerting people to undiagnosed health problems, with some users even crediting the device for saving their life.