Could Data From Smartwatches Help Prevent Strokes?

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Smartwatches feature a wide range of helpful functions, like the ability to sync with other electronic devices or make hand-free calls. But there may be another feature that could prove to be a literal life saver. According to Fortune, a team of heart researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are working to learn more about how the heart sensors built into the watches can possibly diagnose the symptoms of a stroke.

Can the available tech be used to accurately diagnose problems? The ongoing mRhythm study—which started this week—set to out to answer that question. The researchers are looking at heart data collected by Android Wear and Apple Watch sensors, through an app called Cardiogram. As Fortune points out, the watches do not have high tech electrocardiograms built into them but they do have things like LEDs that measure blood flow. The medical researchers behind the study are developing a "deep learning" artificial intelligence algorithm and using the heart data to teach it to distinguish between normal heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation, a treatable abnormal heart rhythm that causes over 100,000 strokes each year.

Those interested in contributing data to the study can download the app and sign up via the mRhythm website, where they will have to complete a series of surveys and provide their medical history.

[h/t Fortune]