Study Suggests Apple Watch Can Accurately Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

The University of California San Francisco and Health startup Cardiogram have partnered together on another study aiming to provide details on just how well the Apple Watch is able to detect common health problems. Since 37 percent and 17 percent of the participants have hypertension and sleep apnea, respectively, the AI got the samples it needed to be able to say whether someone has either condition.

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Sleep apnea affects an estimated 22 million adults in the US, with another 80 percent of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. One in three people have hypertension, also known as chronic high blood pressure, while 80% with sleep apnea don't know they have it. This time around, the study focusses on sleep apnea and hypertension...

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Cardiogram and UCSF's study on heart health is the third major study of deep learning in medicine, following Google Brain's results on diabetic eye disease in December of 2016 and a Stanford study on skin cancer this January. The app-maker and the UCSF Health lab have conducted a study proving that wearables can suggest the presence of hypertension and sleep apnea with 82 percent and 90 percent accuracy, so long as they come equipped with heart rate sensors and accelerometers.

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Though the study was conducted through the Apple Watch, Cardiogram co-founder and study lead Johnson Hsieh believes it shows promise for most wearables that incorporate a heart-rate sensor as "they basically all have the same technology built inside", he told TechCrunch. DeepHeart was trained on 57,675 person-weeks of data, sifting through a grand total of 140 million heart rate measurements and 63 million step counts. It's incredibly exciting to see that the potential of wearables to let us know about risky health conditions - non-invasively - is alive and well, but this also requires the companies in charge of these platforms to deliver on software and AI as good as DeepHeart.

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