If you think about it, most of us are already linked up to some type of wearable device that can read our vitals. What if your Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit could tell you ahead of time that you were going to get sick? Well researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have found that wearable devices that monitor temperature, heart rate and other vital signs can track our overall health and alert us when we’re going to get sick.
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During a recent study, 60 participants wore devices that collected more than 250,000 measurements of vital data a day—things like heart rate, activity levels, calories burned, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels and sleep patterns. As researchers learned of normal baseline patterns for each study participant, they looked for deviations from those patterns to predict illness or other factors that could effect their overall health.
Director of the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford University and lead study author, Dr. Michael Snyder, says that getting an alert on your smartphone that you’re about to get sick will be a reality fairly soon. “Your car has 400 sensors and dashboard lights go on when a problem occurs like the engine starts overheating or you are nearly running out of gas,” said Dr. Snyder. “In the future, you will have multiple sensors relaying information to your smartphone, which will become your health dashboard. Alerts will go off with elevated heart rate over your normal level and heart beat abnormalities will be detected—these will enable early detection of disease, perhaps even before you can detect it yourself.”
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