The app would advise that the wearer should get tested and it would not propose that the person has one of those conditions. This puts them at high risk of stroke and heart disease, which are the leading causes of death in the US.
As for the Cardiogram study, Ballinger said the results will soon go into the peer review process to validate whether wearables can be used as screeners for major health care conditions. Apple is also involved in a heart rate study in partnership with Stanford University.
Research presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim Monday claims that, when paired with the right machine-learning algorithms, the Apple Watch's heart-rate sensor and step counter can make a fair prediction of whether a person has high blood pressure or sleep apnea, in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly through the night. The Apple Watch AI will continuously track people, preventing them when hypertension signs appear. Cardiogram's app called "DeepHeart" is connected to a neural network that can spot high blood pressure in 82% of cases and sleep apnea in 90% of cases.
It becomes hard to note down the spike in blood pressure, and determine if the patient is suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea requires a visit to a sleep clinic, or use of home monitoring equipment.
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The study authors wrote that the algorithm could offer a "surprisingly good prediction of hypertension and sleep apnea given that its only inputs are heart rate and step count". "The difficulty with this is, if you have sleep apnea you are likely to develop heart disease and develop abnormal heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation". The app could also provide advice after a diagnosis, or link people to medical practitioners or health coaches, Ballinger says.
"What if we could transform wearables people already own - Apple Watches, Android Wears, Garmins, and Fitbits - into affordable, everyday screening tools using artificial intelligence?" wrote Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger in a Medium post.
Next, researchers from Cardiogram want to use data collected by wearable gadgets to help improve detection of diabetes.
The value of the said study hasn't been proven yet for medicine. There are now about 30,000 people enrolled in Cardiogram's study with UCSF.