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Apple Watch Can Detect Diabetes With 85% Accuracy

Technology has transformed the wristwatch from a clock to a phone, and now into a non-invasive monitor for diabetes.

According to Cardiogram founder Brandon Ballinger’s latest clinical study, the Apple Watch can detect diabetes in those previously diagnosed with the disease with an 85 percent accuracy.

An ongoing study by app developer Cardiogram and the University of California is tracking over 14,000 Apple Watch and Android Wear users. They are gathering data on many patients who have diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, atrial fibrillation, and high cholesterol. The watches were able to accurately detect the warnings signs for diabetes in 462 users.

Diabetes is a huge and growing problem in the U.S. More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with pre-diabetes or diabetes and more than 1 in 4 of them go undiagnosed, according to the CDC. Part of the problem is the pain that goes into checking blood glucose levels. A patient must prick themselves after every meal and correctly take the right amount of insulin to keep themselves in balance.

“Typical deep learning algorithms are data-hungry, requiring millions of labeled examples, but in medicine, each label represents a human life at risk — for example, a person who recently suffered a heart attack or experienced an abnormal heart rhythm,” Hsieh said in a prepared statement to AppleInsider. “To solve this challenge, researchers applied two semi-supervised deep learning techniques which made use of both labeled and unlabeled heart rate data to improve accuracy.”

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Hsieh noted a correlation between diabetes and a body’s autonomic nervous system allows DeepHeart to detect the disease through heart rate readings. Specifically, as people develop early-stage diabetes, their pattern of heart rate variability shifts in measurable ways.

Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger told AppleInsider that DeepHeart is ready to integrate glucose readings if and when Apple launches a Watch model with built-in glucose monitoring capabilities.

Cardiogram will further expand on its research initiatives in 2018 as it looks to apply deep neural network technologies to real-world scenarios, all in the hope of saving lives. One new feature due to arrive this year is direct in-app integration with DeepHeart, which should grant access to a much larger dataset for improved statistics.

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