A fitness tracker can monitor your heart rate, the number of steps you take, the number of flights of stairs you climb, and the number of calories you burn. It can also count the number of steps you take. Along with a great number of other things, it is able to measure the length of time that you spend sleeping. And all of this information is safely kept on both your mobile device and on the cloud. These nifty little gadgets are really difficult to refuse once you see them.
However, have you ever wondered what the manufacturers of these devices do with all of this data? Aside from periodically presenting us with a de-identified study on our activity levels or the patterns of our sleep, In the case of Fitbit, however, it is being utilized to aid in the research being conducted by medical professionals and researchers into the ways in which physical activity might assist patients in combating illnesses, including cancer.
The researchers’ intense interest in this data stems from a few straightforward motivations. There is a large quantity of it, and all that the people taking part in the clinical studies need to do in order to collect it is wear the fitness tracker and go about their normal routine.
According to the findings of a study that was published not too long ago in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the Fitbit is by far the device that is utilized the most frequently for such objectives. In point of fact, more than four out of five clinical trials that employ the utilization of consumer activity monitors utilize said gadgets as their preferred method of data collection. More than 450 research papers have been published by academics using Fitbit data since the year 2012. This covers everything from the use of a fitness tracker in the management of diabetes to the ways in which exercise might be beneficial during treatment for cancer.
For instance, a recent study conducted at the University of California, San Diego made use of data from Fitbit to determine that breast cancer survivors who engaged in regular physical activity experienced significant improvements in their brain function. A further investigation carried out by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute discovered a correlation between the number of steps cancer patients took and their likelihood of requiring readmission following surgical treatment. It has been found that the more active a person is during their recovery process, the lower the likelihood that they will need to return to the hospital.
The information provided by fitness trackers is obviously not perfect, and the majority of consumer-grade devices do not seek approval from the FDA. Scientists approach these kinds of trials with extreme caution because these devices have not been validated for use in the medical field. However, clinical-grade trackers that can be worn are becoming increasingly popular. These devices go beyond measuring simple physical activity and instead monitor more complex behaviors.
James Park, CEO of Fitbit, gave a keynote address at IFA last month, and he made a big show of the company’s future plans and the increasingly important role that such devices will play in our health and fitness. He said that Fitbit is working on a smartwatch that will track our heart rates and steps. He mentioned that he has high hopes that the first smartwatch produced by the business will be able to detect atrial fibrillation. According to the results of their tests, Ionic was apparently accurate in recognising the condition 98 percent of the time.
Back in 2009, Fitbit introduced the world to its very first pedometer. Since then, both fitness trackers and smartwatches have undergone significant development. Even though the watch-like gadget that you wear on your wrist is not likely to be able to treat cancer, it does provide helpful information to oncologists and other medical professionals.