Apple launches Heart Study to detect problems earlier

Apple and Stanford have teamed up to launch a dedicated app called Heart Study which aims to research and detect potential issues.

The study was first announced back in September but is being rolled out to interested participants today. Using the Apple Watch for heart rate data, all irregularities will be noted and users will be notified of potential issues.

Using this data, the researchers can improve their detection of problems earlier to help prevent serious damage or even death.

In a release, Apple wrote: “AFib (atrial fibrillation), the leading cause of stroke, is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalisations in the US every year. Many people don’t experience symptoms, so AFib often goes undiagnosed.”

Anyone in the United States who is at least 22 years old, with an Apple Watch Series 1 or later, can join the study. Unfortunately, the first generation Watch is not supported.

Apple is leading the way in proving smartwatches can make a real impact to people’s lives and health

To calculate heart rate and rhythm, Apple Watch’s sensor uses green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist.

If an irregular heart rhythm is observed, the app will set up a consultation with a Heart Study doctor. This consultation will be used to ensure there are no issues which need resolving and determine why a problem was flagged. Over time, software algorithms will be optimised to reduce false alerts and cause unnecessary concern.

With this study and features like GymKit, Apple is leading the way in proving smartwatches can make a real impact to people’s lives and health rather than just a place to relay users’ notifications.

You can download Heart Study on iOS here.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s heart study? Let us know in the comments.

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