Wearables -- Sweat, EKG, and Fertility Tracking
With the announcement of Apple WatchOS 6’s period cycle tracker, I found myself reading a bit more about the Apple Watch as well as other wearable sensors in developments. This IEEE Spectrum article gives a peak into the future of wearables (not just wrist bands). I’m hoping that in the relatively near future we’ll be able to find technologies found in the Ava bracelet, EMBR Wave, and other wearables all in one band.
Major Progress Creating Sweat Sensors (TechXplore): Great article describing the current wave of discovery in the field of human health testing. First wave, shipping tests to labs; Second wave, doctors can test on-site using new devices; Third and current wave: continuous health monitoring so that medical teams can track health trends instead of a single blood snapshot. Heikenfeld is developing wearable technology that uses sweat at the Novel Device Lab at the University of Cincinnati. The sensors are the size of a Band-Aid and stimulate sweat for up to 24 hours. Their findings are important, as future development might help doctors adjust dosing per individual based on how quickly they metabolize specific drugs. Read their paper in Nature here.
Apple EKG Tracker Not Yet Useful For User Base (The Verge): Check out this great video by The Verge about the Apple EKG feature. Their basic conclusion -- if you're heart healthy and under 65, no need to use it. It might just cause false positives and unnecessary worries. For an at risk population, the tool could potentially help refer patients to a more thorough medical analysis, but currently the Apple Watch user base is a younger and more active population.
Apple Watch adds Cycle-Tracking Feature (Tech Crunch): WatchOS 6 will have a cycle-tracking app so women can log key info about their period and fertility. A bit anticlimactic that the app will only allow for tracking (same as Clue, Glow, and fellow competitors). I admit, I would have expected Apple to announce a period tracker in combination with a big study to promote women's health (like their heart/Parkinson/other health studies). It was a bit disappointing they aren't launching a big study to help research menopause treatments, endometriosis causes, the influence of menstrual cycles on medication intake, or integrating temperature (like Ava) or sweat sensors to gain new knowledge on women's health. Hopefully there is more to come...