STANFORD, Calif. – More than 400,000 people have enrolled in a study being conducted by researchers at Stanford Medicine and Apple to determine whether a mobile app that uses the optical sensor on the Apple Watch to analyze pulse rate data can identify atrial fibrillation. An update on the study, which began last November, was published recently in an online paper in the American Heart Journal. “We hope this study will help us better understand how wearable technologies can inform precision health,” said Dr. Lloyd Minor, dean of Stanford’s School of Medicine, in a statement. “These new tools, which have the potential to predict, prevent and manage disease, are finally within our reach.” Study participants use an app on their iPhone to intermittently check the heart-rate pulse sensor for measurements of an irregular pulse. If sufficient episodes of an irregular pulse are detected, then the participant receives a notification and is asked to schedule a visit with a doctor involved in the study. Participants are then sent electrocardiography patches that record the electrical rhythm of their hearts for up to a week. The researchers wrote that the study has entered the final phase of data collection and will be completed early next year.
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