Since the onset of the pandemic, researchers have conducted several studies to see if smartwatches and the like can detect early signs of COVID-19. A paper in the journal JAMA Network Open reveals that devices such as the Apple Watch and Fitbits can provide information or data about the long-term effects of COVID-19.
The study was conducted by scientists at the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California. Derived from the Digital Engagement and Tracking for Early Control and Treatment trial. The study involved more than 37,000 users of Fitbits, Apple Watch, and similar devices. Using the MyDataHelps research app. This study has been taking place from March 25, 2020, to January 24, 2021. It’s really not a short time.
In October researchers reported that combining data from Apple Watch and Fitbit with reported symptoms led to more accurate detection of COVID-19 cases. Initially, the researchers focused on data from Fitbit users. The data shows that the device can detect lasting changes. “There is a much larger change in resting heart rate for individuals who have COVID compared to other viral infections,” said Dr. Jennifer Radin, an epidemiologist at Scripps.
After nine days after participants with COVID-19 first started reporting symptoms, scientists found that their heart rates dropped. For their resting heart rate to return to normal, it takes 79 days.
Sleep and physical activity levels also returned more slowly in those with COVID-19 compared to those with other illnesses. “More research like this is needed in the future. We want to do a better job of collecting long-term symptoms. So we can compare the physiological changes we see with the actual symptoms experienced by the participants,” said Dr. Radian.