How heart health is researched with the Apple Watch

In a recent press release, Apple points out the research opportunities that result from clinical and observed uses of the Apple Watch. Not only the in-house technologies ResearchKit and CareKit, which have been available to doctors, researchers and developers since 2015, are discussed, but also current research locations and areas. For example, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, is investigating the cardiological effects of cancer therapies on children and adolescents. In the USA, the effect of forest fire smoke on firefighters is also being investigated. And in the Netherlands, the Apple Watch is used in an atrial fibrillation study.

Apple Watch devices are provided by manufacturers for medical examinations and studies. Apple is currently reporting on three studies in Australia, the USA and the Netherlands. Here I have summarized some information for you.
Apple Watch devices are provided by manufacturers for medical examinations and studies. Apple is currently reporting on three studies in Australia, the USA and the Netherlands. Here I have summarized some information for you.

Monitoring heart health with the Apple Watch

Depending on the model and version, the Apple Watch can be used to monitor and record the heart rate and to carry out individual ECGs. In addition, the current heart rhythm is analyzed in the background in order to issue a warning in the event of irregularities or imminent complications. Apple keeps sharing stories from Watch users who, thanks to such a warning, drove to the emergency room in time or were able to take other measures.

In addition to this everyday use of the Apple Watch by the wearers who bought their watch themselves, there are also research groups. Apple provides the watch devices for these or the institutions that carry them out. Researchers can then use these and the recordings made with them to examine certain situations, environmental influences or treatment methods with regard to the cardiological effect. There are details about the deployment on the website from Apple's Investigator Support Program.

Investigation of toxicities in cancer treatment in Australia

"Toxicities in cancer treatment can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, such as long QT syndrome, which can be potentially life-threatening. QT prolongation causes an irregular heart rhythm and increases the time it takes for blood to flow through the heart", it is explained in the current one press release by Apple, in which various research projects in which the Apple Watch has been or will be involved are shown. In Melbourne, a study on the toxicity of cancer treatments in children and adolescents is being conducted by Prof. Rachel Conyers and Dr. Claudia Toro directed.

"I read about the Apple Heart Study and thought this might be important for pediatrics" says Dr. Conyers. "We used to think that cardiac toxicity is something that occurs 10 years after treatment. But now we know that new cancer therapies (like specific inhibitors or immunotherapies) can induce cardiac arrhythmia within 48 hours of administration — so there's a big gap in terms of what we currently know about the toxicities.About 40 children and adolescents are to be examined in the coming months in order to close this gap at least a little.

Studies on the effects of smoke on the heart in the USA

"Every resident of the Bay Area remembers the day the sky turned orange. It happened on September 9th, 2020. Dr. So-Min Cheong, an associate professor in the Department of Public Service and Administration at Texas A&M University's Bush School, has been to Palo Alto, California' reads the opening section of the section investigating the cardiac effects of wildfire smoke on firefighters in California and Texas. This is scheduled to start in March 2023, since the wildfire season in Texas starts in the spring. In California, it begins in the summer. Up to 200 firefighters are to be equipped with an Apple Watch.

"Firefighters will benefit from the study" says Dr. Cheong. "We know that wildfire smoke has a direct impact on their health and with a study like this they can see their results in real time.However, there is still no hypothesis to be proven or disproved. The study is therefore "more exploratory", is it [called. The results shouldhelp to understand the accuracy of such analysis in order to design tailored interventions. I also think that a study of this type could help us better understand high-risk groups.So no assumption can be made about a possible core statement of the finished study.

Studies on atrial fibrillation in the Netherlands

"At the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Dr. Sebastiaan Blok, head of the eHealth department at the Cardiology Centers of the Netherlands, and his colleagues explore ways to detect atrial fibrillation earlier. Researchers developed a randomized control study as part of a larger initiative called HartWacht, the first reimbursable eHealth concept'" says the press release linked above. The study in the Netherlands is being conducted to better understand atrial fibrillation and its causes. After all, experts assume that the rate of incidents within the EU will double by 2060. If left untreated, this type of cardiac arrhythmia can lead to stroke and heart failure.

"The Apple Watch is such a widely used, reliable wearable that we thought it would be a great device to incorporate into our research to better understand how we might be able to integrate it more deeply into the healthcare system", explains Dr. block In the Netherlands "there are approximately 300.000 people who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation" says Dr. Nicole van Steijn, a member of the research team. "But there are also an estimated 100.000 people who have it but don't know it because they probably haven't had any symptoms.“This study is an ongoing investigation. Atrial fibrillation was detected in one person despite the absence of symptoms.

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