The study proved accurate enough in its diagnosis of these conditions that Cardiogram believes with additional research, wearables like the Apple Watch could be used as a cheap way to diagnose these conditions.
The study authors wrote that the algorithm could offer a "surprisingly good prediction of hypertension and sleep apnea given that its only inputs are heart rate and step count". In this case, the algorithm was able to detect arrhythmia in study participants with 97 percent accuracy.
It affects 22million adults in the United States and if left untreated the oxygen deprivation from sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and heart attacks.
Cardiogram and UCSF's study on heart health is the third major study of deep learning in medicine, following Google Brain's results on diabetic eye disease in December of 2016 and a Stanford study on skin cancer this January. Meanwhile according to the American Sleep Apnea Association 80% of U.S. adults are considered to have moderate and severe cases of undiagnosed sleep apnea.
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Sleep apnea, according to the National Institute of Health, is a common disorder in which you have pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. The experiment involved 6 thousand people wearing the Apple Watch.
Another 75 million American adults have high blood pressure or hypertension, putting them at high risk for heart disease and stroke which are the top causes of death in the US. In 2003, the ARIC study (N=11,061) showed that those with low heart rate variability were 1.44x more likely to develop hypertension over 9 years.
"Those are important conditions because they affect more than a billion people", cofounder of Cardiogram Brandon Ballinger told MobiHealthNews. DeepHeart was trained on data from 70 percent of participants and tested on the 30 percent of participants that weren't the same participants used to collect the data.
Data collected from the Apple watches was interpreted by the deep neural network of DeepHeart, which recognized hypertension and sleep apnea.
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