Heart rate sensors on Apple Watch, Fitbit, Android Wear watches can detect early signs of diabetes, suggest new study by Cardiogram

We have come to expect heart rate sensors on most of the fitness devices we purchase these days. Apple Watch and Fitbit are devices which are quite popular with fitness enthusiasts along with Android Wear watches and devices from Garmin as well. Now a study claims that the data from the heart rate sensors on these devices can also detect early signs of diabetes.

Heartbeat. Pixabay

Heartbeat. Pixabay

A company called Cardiogram, which has an app that can break down the heart rate data collected by the Apple Watch and others, shared the results of its new study which lets you use the heart rate data from the Watch to detect early signals of diabetes.

As part of this study, Cardiogram researchers partnered with the University of California, San Francisco as well as used the Cardiogram DeepHeart neural network. Through this study, they arrived at a conclusion that the heart rate data collected from these devices is 85 percent accurate when it came to differentiating between people with diabetes and those without.

The study was conducted with around 14,011 participants and the Cardiogram app used more than 200mn sensor measurements from all the participants using Apple Watch or Android Wear device and the Cardiogram app. It aggregated data that included heart rate, step count and other activities.

Traditional methods of testing prediabetes are via glucose-sensing hardware which may not always be handy. As a result, a lot of the times prediabetes goes undiagnosed.

With the Cardiogram app study, the sensor (hardware) on the Watch feeds the artificial intelligence based algorithm of the Cardiogram's DeepHeart which can alert Watch wearers about issues. These can then be resolved by actually going ahead and getting a medical checkup done.

This is a first large-scale study where heart rate sensors on devices such as Apple Watch, Android Wear devices or even on FitBit are being used to detect early signs of diabetes. According to the study, the pancreas is connected to the heart via the nervous system and the changes logged in the heart rate monitoring change when a person begins to show early signs of diabetes.

Cardiogram is planning to implement some new features so that the DeepHeart algorithm is directly integrated into the app. This will let users know beforehand if they need to get a checkup done for diabetes. Read more details on the report here.

If you want to participate in Cardiogram's study, you will need to install the Cardiogram app and sign up to join the mRhythm study.

Updated Date: Feb 08, 2018 18:11 PM