Studies have shown that there are hundreds of millions of Americans with diabetes or prediabetes that have not been detected. And given the medical technology that the US already has, that’s still a pretty big number. Of course there are also other factors that may have led to that, but app developer Cardiogram thinks there may be a solution and all you need to detect it is a smartwatch. It may not solve the diabetes problem but at least it will help in identifying those who are or may be suffering from it.
The study from Cardiogram involved 14,000 Apple Watch and Android Wear users. They used the health sensor data gathered from the wearables to train a neural network called DeepHeart to identify those that were with and without diabetes. Using the heart rate sensors of the smartwatches and an AI-based algorithm, medical professionals and future apps to be developed will become tools to detect early signs of diabetes.
They also used a 2015 Framingham Heart Study which showed that those with low heart rate variability and high resting heart rate are predictors of who will develop diabetes within 12 years. Because of this information, they were able to analyze the 200 million heart rate and step count measurements that they gathered for their study. DeepHeart was also previously used and shows high accuracy in detecting atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and sleep apnea.
This means that your smartwatch, if it has heart rate sensor and step count features (which most have now) can be one of the tools used to see if you’re at risk to get diabetes based on your current health and lifestyle. Apple is reported to be working on noninvasive diabetes sensors so this may mean they are in the right direction. Let’s wait and see what Android Wear does with this information.