May 12, 2017

Startup claims Apple Watch + AI can detect heart conditions

Eric Risberg / AP

Using the Apple Watch and artificial intelligence, health startup Cardiogram reports they could detect a type of abnormal heart rhythm with 97% accuracy by analyzing data from the watch's heart sensor.

Why it matters: Atrial fibrillation affects an estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S. and is a predictor of heart attack, stroke and dementia. The abnormal rhythms are the cause of 1 in 4 strokes. In many cases, there are no symptoms and though people are monitored for weeks to try to catch the abnormalities, months can pass before they occur, so they are missed. The researchers hope by continuously monitoring for abnormalities they can lower the number of undiagnosed cases.

Methodology: The researchers collected heart rate and EKG measurements from 6,158 Apple Watch users who are part of the UCSF Health eHeart study. 166 of them had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Their measurements were used to train a neural network to tell the difference between normal and abnormal heart rhythms. They then tested the AI in 51 patients who were in the hospital for a procedure to reset their heart rate and found it could detect atrial fibrillation with 97% accuracy compared to an electrocardiogram.

Bigger picture: The study is the latest demonstration of how AI might find its way into medicine. Stanford researchers recently reported an AI could analyze images to detect skin cancer and Google has taken a similar approach to screen for diabetic retinopathy.

What's needed: More testing with more people. Cardiogram also plans to hone the algorithm and test it against "gold standard" EKG measurements. The researchers reported 90% specificity meaning roughly 1 in 10 detections was a false positive. "The real challenge isn't the tech, but framing the implementation of these new tools in a way that maximizes benefit for health care while minimizing risk of over treatment due to false positives," says Mintu Turakhia from the Stanford Center for Digital Health, who adds "this is promising work."

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.