HEALTH

Smartwatch used to detect irregular heartbeat, JAMA reports

BY Michael Johnsen

A smartwatch coupled with a machine learning algorithm was able to detect irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, with high accuracy in a small group of patients undergoing treatment to restore normal heart rhythm, according to research published last week in JAMA Cardiology.

As many as 9,750 participants with an Apple Watch smartwatch enrolled in the Health eHeart Study, including 347 with self-reported AF, and another group of 51 patients undergoing cardioversion, a treatment using medication or electricity, to restore regular heart rhythm from 2016 to March 2017; participants wore smartwatches to collect heart rate and step count data as part of the development and training of a deep neural network, which is a type of machine learning algorithm, to detect AF.

“These data support further research regarding the use of commercially available smartwatches coupled with a deep neural network for the purpose of detecting AF,” noted Gregory Marcus, a researcher with the University of California, San Francisco.

“As sensor technologies have miniaturized in size and cost, their penetration into the consumer wellness and retail space has intensified,” wrote Mintu Turakhia, associate professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine) at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System, in an accompanying editorial. “Although most of these devices have not been integrated into routine clinical use for various reasons, they remain attractive targets for health care because of their potential to more easily access large populations for disease screening and management. Connectivity of these sensor devices to mobile phones, which are globally ubiquitous, simplify data collection at scale. At the same time, indefinite continuous ECG recording with wearables has been difficult because of issues of lead placement, electrode contact and battery drain. Heart rate sensors on watches and fitness bands use photoplethysmography — the digital version of pulse recordings first described more than a century ago. Therefore, an obvious question is whether these can be leveraged to detect arrhythmias.”

AF detection was associated with a lower accuracy in a larger group of people with a self-reported history of AF.

Atrial fibrillation affects 34 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of stroke. AF often has no symptoms and it can go undetected until a stroke happens.

 

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More American adults determined obese, JAMA report finds

BY Michael Johnsen

Americans are still getting fatter with age. The population of adults identified as obese or severely obese continued to grow in the United States between 2007-2008 and 2015-2016, according to research published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But there were no significant overall changes among youth, noted lead author Craig Hales, a researcher with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity among adults has been on the rise since the 1980s but plateaued among youth between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014.

According to the research, 39.6% of all adults were classified as obese and 7.7% were determined to be severely obese over the course of 2015 through 2016. That’s up from 33.7% and 5.7%, respectively, from a similar report over the course of 2007 through 2008.

The increase in obesity rates among youth was less pronounced, the research found. As many as 18.5% of the population between the ages of 2 and 19 were classified as obese during the 2015/2016 period, up only sightly from 16.8% in 2007/2008. Youths classified as severely obese went up from 4.9% to 5.6% over those periods.

The data includes weight measurements of 16,875 youth and 27,449 adults (over the age of 20) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007-2008 to 2015-2016.

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DarioHealth introduces iPhone 8-friendly blood glucose meter

BY Michael Johnsen

DarioHealth on Monday announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration has granted pre-market notification (510(k)) clearance for the New York-based company’s Lightning-enabled version of the Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System.

The launch of Apple’s smartphones with only a Lightning connector posed a unique challenge to the entire mobile ecosystem. With today’s announcement, DarioHealth can now successfully offer to U.S. consumers its proprietary meter with either a 3.5mm headphone jack or Lightning connector.

“We’ve been working tirelessly to bring forth a solution that would meet the rigorous standards required to achieve the FDA clearance,” Erez Raphael, chairman and CEO DarioHealth, said. “We are proud that our organization worked with agility to ensure connectivity to the latest Apple devices. This is a big breakthrough to receive the FDA’s marketing clearance for the Dario product on iPhone 7, 8 and X, and allows many of our past users who upgraded to these new iPhones to renew their Dario experience. This continues DarioHealth’s U.S. market progress, and truly opens the door for wide-scale expansion in this pivotal market.”

This news opens a significant U.S. market opportunity for DarioHealth, as it enables DarioHealth to provide its diabetes management platform and expand the sales of the Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System to iPhone 7, 8 and X SMDs.

The diabetes company has been marketing the product in the U.S. exclusively for Apple iOS 6.1 platform and higher since the FDA first granted clearance for the Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System in December 2015, and certain leading Android SMD’s including Samsung Galaxy S series, Samsung Galaxy Note series and LG G series, since September 2017. With today’s news, DarioHealth plans to expand U.S. sales in the coming weeks.

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