Apple Watch Series 6 oxygen sensor just as good as hospital equipment

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 25
The Apple Watch Series 6 is a "reliable way" to monitor oxygen saturation in patients with lung conditions, according to a University of Sao Paulo study, one that could help in future medical treatments.




The Apple Watch Series 6 introduced a blood oxygen sensor to the wearable device, providing users with more of an idea about their overall fitness. In a study, it seems that Apple's sensor addition could have some serious medical applications.

The study from Brazil's University of Sao Paulo, published in Nature Magazine and spotted by 9to5Mac put the Apple Watch Series 6 against a pair of commercial pulse oximeters. Approximately 100 patients from an outpatient pneumology clinic with interstitial lung disease (ILD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were analyzed with the devices.

"Strong positive correlations" were observed between the Apple Watch and the commercial oximeters for evaluating heart rate measurements and oximetry. While the Apple Watch did tend to report higher oximetry figures on average, the study "did not observe significant differences" for both blood oxygen and heart rate figures.

The study concludes "our results indicate that Apple Watch 6 [sic] is a reliable way to obtain heart rate and SPO2 in patients with lung diseases under controlled conditions. The advance of smartwatch technology continues to improve and studies to assess accuracy and reliability in various types of disease should be carried out."

Apple is also conducting its own studies into various medical areas, in partnership with outside organizations. In April, it partnered with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study to see if the Apple Watch could predict illnesses, like the fu, or other respiratory ailments.

In September, Biogen started a study with Apple and UCLA into how the Apple Watch could detect symptoms of neurological diseases, including dementia and depression.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,400member
    “These IPhone guys aren’t just going to walk in here and beat our dedicated, hugely expensive, and highly billable medical equipment …”
    StrangeDaysMisterKitronnGeorgeBMacjas99
  • Reply 2 of 24
    chasm said:
    “These IPhone guys aren’t just going to walk in here and beat our dedicated, hugely expensive, and highly billable medical equipment …”
    Just like these EV cars, they cant just butt in a highly profitable gas companies….not so fast Johnny..hehe
    jas99
  • Reply 3 of 24
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,364member
    chasm said:
    “These IPhone guys aren’t just going to walk in here and beat our dedicated, hugely expensive, and highly billable medical equipment …”
    "Amateur hour is over" - BlackBerry
    StrangeDaysronnjas99
  • Reply 4 of 24
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.
    edited September 25 byronljas99hexclock
  • Reply 5 of 24
    “In April, it partnered with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study to see if the Apple Watch could predict illnesses, like the fu, or other respiratory ailments.”

    Who knew AppleWatch would be instrumental in fu-fighting? 
    MacsWithPenguinsFidonet127
  • Reply 6 of 24
    Don't forget that the
    "million-dollar equipment" is going to want to track you... :*

    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.

    MacsWithPenguins
  • Reply 7 of 24
    mobird said:
    Don't forget that the "million-dollar equipment" is going to want to track you... :*

    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow […..]

    Yes, absolutely. I was also thinking about what a Facebook MRI machine would be like. It would be called Facebook U (”it’s all about analyzing you and your brainwaves to create a perfect automated profile/persona, knowing everything about all your sugar cravings, habits and weak points”), abbreviated ”F U”, to really indicate how much they care about people  :D
    edited September 25
  • Reply 8 of 24
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,455member
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.
    https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri

    "Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive imaging technology that produces three dimensional detailed anatomical images. It is often used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring. It is based on sophisticated technology that excites and detects the change in the direction of the rotational axis of protons found in the water that makes up living tissues."

    "How does MRI work?"

    "MRIs employ powerful magnets which produce a strong magnetic field that forces protons in the body to align with that field. When a radiofrequency current is then pulsed through the patient, the protons are stimulated, and spin out of equilibrium, straining against the pull of the magnetic field. When the radiofrequency field is turned off, the MRI sensors are able to detect the energy released as the protons realign with the magnetic field. The time it takes for the protons to realign with the magnetic field, as well as the amount of energy released, changes depending on the environment and the chemical nature of the molecules. Physicians are able to tell the difference between various types of tissues based on these magnetic properties.  

    To obtain an MRI image, a patient is placed inside a large magnet and must remain very still during the imaging process in order not to blur the image. Contrast agents (often containing the element Gadolinium) may be given to a patient intravenously before or during the MRI to increase the speed at which protons realign with the magnetic field. The faster the protons realign, the brighter the image."

    I'm guessing that the Physics alone of this technology is pretty niche, even for "Google X" type tech incubators.
    edited September 25
  • Reply 9 of 24
    tmay said:
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.
    https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri

    "Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive imaging technology that produces three dimensional detailed anatomical images. It is often used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring. It is based on sophisticated technology that excites and detects the change in the direction of the rotational axis of protons found in the water that makes up living tissues."

    "How does MRI work?"

    "MRIs employ powerful magnets which produce a strong magnetic field that forces protons in the body to align with that field. When a radiofrequency current is then pulsed through the patient, the protons are stimulated, and spin out of equilibrium, straining against the pull of the magnetic field. When the radiofrequency field is turned off, the MRI sensors are able to detect the energy released as the protons realign with the magnetic field. The time it takes for the protons to realign with the magnetic field, as well as the amount of energy released, changes depending on the environment and the chemical nature of the molecules. Physicians are able to tell the difference between various types of tissues based on these magnetic properties.  

    To obtain an MRI image, a patient is placed inside a large magnet and must remain very still during the imaging process in order not to blur the image. Contrast agents (often containing the element Gadolinium) may be given to a patient intravenously before or during the MRI to increase the speed at which protons realign with the magnetic field. The faster the protons realign, the brighter the image."

    I'm guessing that the Physics alone of this technology is pretty niche, even for "Google X" type tech incubators.
    Yeah. Thanks for the informative reply. Definitely niche, but on the other hand, health is the next trend, especially in the pandemic and post-pandemic era. While it sounds crazy now, it’s not unreasonable to think that people will need serious help with ways to analyze their health. Yeah, not MRI done at home per se, but different ways to analyze your body.
    edited September 25
  • Reply 10 of 24


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.
    ivanhTomPMRIbyronlanantksundaramrundhvid
  • Reply 11 of 24
    LuvMacs said:


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.

    Huawei smartwatch seem more accurate, cost as cheap as $30 and you get a smartwatch with oxygen sensor function and lots of other functions, a very good buy.
    byronl
  • Reply 12 of 24
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.

    As a nurse I can say that their skepticism is more than simply doubts about relative accuracy and has a lot to do with both money and tribalism.  The healthcare system does not want to relinquish either money or control to outsiders.

    That's why it has taken so long to get telemedicine going -- and why we STILL cannot import our drugs directly from the countries who manufacture them.   The public reason is that they are protecting our safety.  The real reason is money and control.

    Much of that is enabled by government -- mostly the FDA.  And, while that agency has mostly eliminated snake oil scams, it now also works to support collusion within the healthcare industry -- such as between BigPharma, PBMs and pharmacies that is keeping our drug prices so high.
    byronl
  • Reply 13 of 24
    LuvMacs said:


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.

    Interesting that on some days the readings are all above 95% and others far below.
    I would ask what the difference was on those days rather than automatically blame the watch -- which likely didn't change.

    But, in any case, as always with home monitoring, a physician would simply run their own check with their own equipment before taking any action -- particularly if the home monitoring seems unreasonable.
    edited September 26
  • Reply 14 of 24
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,113member
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive […]

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company?

    What’s even more impressive, how much of that power is wasted on useless fluff and inefficient coding. On a NeXT (33MHz 32-bit CPU with 256MB RAM and 8GB disk space over 4 2GB partitions at its max) ran true WYSIWYG DTP publishing in many ways more efficiently than the latest Macs; heck there’s not even anything comparable to FrameMaker on the Mac. It’s pathetic where a lot of that power is being wasted…

    As for the size of MRI machines: Not much different as the size of these is determined my the high-powered magnets. It’s not like Silicon Valley is the only place with smart people and design capabilities. Professional medical equipment also has different demands in terms of reliability. You can’t compare a small sensor device attached to a purposefully big display with large control knobs (such that it can be monitored from afar, operated with gloves, etc.) with a fiddly consumer Gadget at a person‘s wrist. Totally different design objectives.

    MacsWithPenguins
  • Reply 15 of 24
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,113member
    LuvMacs said:


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.
    Hm, similarly here: often it can’t successfully get a reading, often it’s low like yours; and I’m as white, and skinny as it gets. So it’s certainly NOT pigmentation or body fat getting in the way…

    It may be also a question of how tight the watch sits, if it gets shifted due to sleeping position, or possibly if by how one sleeps, blood circulation to the arm is restricted?

    Don’t know, I’m supposedly healthy and my readings are all over…
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 16 of 24
    rcfa said:
    LuvMacs said:


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.
    Hm, similarly here: often it can’t successfully get a reading, often it’s low like yours; and I’m as white, and skinny as it gets. So it’s certainly NOT pigmentation or body fat getting in the way…

    It may be also a question of how tight the watch sits, if it gets shifted due to sleeping position, or possibly if by how one sleeps, blood circulation to the arm is restricted?

    Don’t know, I’m supposedly healthy and my readings are all over…

    If the watch  "gets shifted due to sleeping position" it's strap may not be tight enough to get reliable readings.

    I loosen mine a notch at night.  But I mostly have it on for fall detection and being able to call if I need help during the night.  For actual tracking during the day I keep it snugged up - not tight, but snug so it can't move around and the sensor stays tight to the skin.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    We take our super-computer smartphones for granted now and people don’t give it much thought — how much power is inside them. However, with a smartwatch .. cramming so much intelligence into a wrist watch (which is likely going to get thinner over time, as graphene batteries are introduced in these devices), is somehow more impressive to me and I understand how medical professionals initially are doubting the capabilities of such small devices, until they see it in action and compare it to million-dollar equipment. I myself have followed the tech industry since the early 1990s to different degrees and I usually start out not overestimating the power, while keeping an open mind about the possibilities that might be in there.

    Anyone wonder what size an MRI machine would be, if it was to be developed by a Silicon Valley company? I know nothing about them and not going to pretend I do, but I do wonder how today’s machines from say Philips or the likes would compare to something made by Google X (https://x.company) or some tech startup? Of course, from a humoristic view, these tech-focused machines would require constant software updates despite being mission-critical devices and would lose software support after 6 months, when version 2 of the hardware makes the first one obsolete.
    I absolutely would not trust an MRI built by any tech company. There are major safety concerns with the level of power involved in an MRI machine. Tech companies keep pretending they can address these concerns with software, only to have a software-driven car run over a pedestrian because the developers hadn't considered pedestrians outside crosswalks.

    Or specifically in the medical industry, check out the THERAC-25. That was a radiotherapy machine which killed people because the manufacturer had removed hardware safety interlocks in favor of cheaper software, but the software was written poorly.

    Modern software development practices used by the overwhelming majority of tech companies (especially Google) are incapable of producing software suitable for use in safety-critical applications.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,083member
    LuvMacs said:


    Just as good as hospital equipment???!!!

    The above is a screenshot of my blood oxygen levels over the past week. I do not have lung or heart disease & am physically fit. Capillary (blood) oxygen levels range from 95 to 100% in healthy adults. As you can see from the screenshot most are the readings recorded by my AppleWatch indicate that I am hypoxic (low oxygen level in the blood). 

    I am a physician & have contacted Apple regarding these inaccurate readings. The response from their engineers was that it was because of my skin pigmentation. I am Asian & while not pale skinned, am not dark either.
    I don't think wrist is a good place to measure oxygen. From what I read, finger is the best place for measuring oxygen since much all have pale complexion. A wrist is much thicker and harder to detect as the skin gets darker. Maybe in the next generation, the oxygen sensor will be placed on the Digital Crown for accuracy. 
  • Reply 19 of 24
    A little off topic but:
    I went for a run this afternoon and, as usual left my phone in my car.
    I got about 50 feet and my Apple Watch popped up a warning.  I forget the exact wording but the essence of the message was essentially:
    "Hey!  Dumbshit!  You forgot your phone!  It's on the Montour Trail"

    I don't know if that was from the watch or the phone -- but this Apple Watch just keeps on impressing me with both the big and the little things it does.

    I hate to take the thing off my wrist even to charge it!  It is just SO helpful and amazing!
  • Reply 20 of 24
    A little off topic but:
    I went for a run this afternoon and, as usual left my phone in my car.
    I got about 50 feet and my Apple Watch popped up a warning.  I forget the exact wording but the essence of the message was essentially:
    "Hey!  Dumbshit!  You forgot your phone!  It's on the Montour Trail"

    I don't know if that was from the watch or the phone -- but this Apple Watch just keeps on impressing me with both the big and the little things it does.

    I hate to take the thing off my wrist even to charge it!  It is just SO helpful and amazing!
    Couldn't agree more.

    (See, I can occasionally agree with you?)
    muthuk_vanalingam
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