November January 3, 2022 – Maybe you’re taking a leisurely walk in your neighborhood or wandering the aisles of the grocery store. Chances are, your smartphone is also with you — perhaps as a podcast player or digital security blanket.
But what if the phone could collect data from your daily cardio routine to predict how long you’ll live?
There may not be such an app yet, but researchers at the University of Illinois have laid the groundwork for the possibilitystudy was recently published in the journal PLOS Digital Health
“It is well known that people [who] exercise People can live longer by gaining weight — and moving more vigorously –,” said Dr. Bruce Schatz, a medical informatics specialist at the University of Illinois and a co-author of the study. “We’re ultimately trying to see what you can tell from the walking exercise that has some medical implications.”
Schatz and colleagues extracted data on more than 100,000 adults aged 45-79 from the UK Biobank, a British biomedical database. Researchers reviewed data from 12 consecutive 30-second walking intervals for each study participant, who wore the wrist sensor 24/7 as part of their daily activities for one week.
The researchers analyzed the participants’ walking intensity and used it to predict their annual risk of death over a 5-year period.
Since the data was collected from 2013 to 2015, the researchers were able to check the accuracy of the estimates against death records sex. The team’s predictions were in good agreement with the participants’ actual mortality rates, although the model was more accurate in earlier years than at the 5-year mark.
“Personally, it doesn’t give you ‘you only have 5 minutes to live,'” Schatz said. Instead, “How likely are you to die in 5 or 2 years?”
However, if a An app that predicts your death date is here, and Larry Hernandez of San Antonio, Texas, is getting ready to try it out. The 42-year-old, a private health insurance consultant, said the technology could motivate his clients to improve their health.
But Hernandez is also familiar with tracking his own metrics. Since he started running in 2015, he’s lost 60 pounds and continues to log a daily 5K on his Apple Watch.
If “an event today or yesterday actually gave me an extra year of life,” Hernandez said, “that would be great.”
Towards universal healthcare
Wrist devices worn by participants have accelerometers meter, even built into the cheapest smartphones. These motion sensors are key to bringing health information to the masses, Schatz said.
Smartwatches and other wearable fitness trackers are growing in popularity—according to a 2019 Pew Research Center According to a survey , about one in five U.S. adults wear them regularly —but not everyone can afford them. However, according to Pew 2021 estimates, 97% of Americans own a cell phone and 85% own a smartphone.
The practical possibilities of using the formula created by Schatz and colleagues are enormous. For example, a hospital system might monitor most patients simultaneously via smartphones and alert them to changes in walking patterns that could indicate a medical problem—all without disrupting the lives of patients.
“The important thing is population screening. It’s about finding problems early, while you can still do something,” Schatz said. “There’s a real opportunity here to do something for a lot of people.”
Vienna Williams, MPH Vienna Williams sees an opportunity for employers. As director of the International WELL Building Institute in New York City, she helps companies from Hilton to Uber prioritize the well-being of their employees.
“Wearables and sensors that help us truly understand changeable behavior, which is where we have the opportunity place for intervention,” Williams said, noting that the institute already uses such technology to help clients understand employee health trends. “The most important question these things help us answer is, where do we have room to change our behavior in ways that we know will help our health in the long run?”
An app that can predict the likelihood of death could also help eliminate health disparities, provided it is accessible by everyone with a smartphone, regardless of socioeconomic status. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey .
“The benefits of physical activity are undisputed,” says Jan Carney, MD, of Lana Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington hospital. “But rates of physical activity [are] uneven across the population.”
Work by Schatz and colleagues does contributed to the achievement of health equity goals, Carney said.
People in a given community know their own activity levels,” she said.
Future research should be more racialized and ethnically diverse, Schatz said. Although the study participants reflected the UK population, the majority were white. Schatz’s The team plans to continue its research through the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program, which seeks to recruit more Over 1 million people.