Wearable Devices May Help Detect Lyme Disease Stanford Study Shows

Wearable Sensors Help Detect ‘Common Colds,’ Even Lyme Disease In New Study

In recent years, most have probably heard of, and become familiar with, the subject of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is carried by ticks, and when bitten by one that is infected, a strange, bulls-eye-like rash may soon follow.

According to Limedisease.org, while a bulls-eye rash is common, some may not develop a rash at all. Others might develop a different kind of Lyme rash. The physical symptoms of Lyme disease may include fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, and many others. Limedisease.org further reports that Lyme disease can cause issues such as cognitive impairment, mood problems, and issues with sleep. If left untreated, it may blossom into late stage or chronic Lyme disease.

Science Daily describes how a recent study, which was conducted by researchers at Stanford University, showed that smart watches, along with other personal biosensor devices, may be able to help detect the tick-borne Lyme disease. Over the course of up to two years, the study looked at 60 individuals, some of whom wore up to eight devices, according to KQED Science. The wearable devices collected a wide-ranging amount of information from the participants.

“[The devices] measure heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, sleep, calories expended, exercise and even exposure to radiation. That’s paired with occasional laboratory tests to measure blood chemistry and some genetic information.”

Science Daily explained how these devices proved to be helpful in finding common colds, and even goes as far as to say that they can help signal the onset of conditions such as Lyme disease, as well as diabetes.

In the study, Science Daily described how the device assisted in making a Lyme disease diagnosis for one person — Dr. Michael Snyder. Snyder, who Science Daily describes as a “PhD and professor and chair of Genetics at Stanford University,” was one of the study’s 60 participants as well as the senior author of it.

Snyder described how, while wearing his biosensors during a family vacation to Scandinavia, he caught an inkling that something might be wrong. According to Science Daily, Snyder noticed an elevated heart rate and decreased oxygen, which alarmed him. He was later plagued with a low-grade fever, which went on for days.

Snyder’s story can also be read on Stanford Medicine News Center. From his previous experiences, it is explained that Snyder knew that typically, his oxygen levels would drop when he was flying, and his heart rate would go up during the start of a flight. The experience was the same for other participants. While his values would usually revert to normal, it was different this time around.

Upon recalling he had recently worked outdoors with his brother, Snyder feared he had Lyme disease. His suspicion was later confirmed though testing. A physician also prescribed Snyder doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat Lyme Disease, and Synder’s symptoms ultimately faded, per Science Daily.

KQED Science describes that Snyder was among the group of Lyme disease sufferers that never developed a rash. According to Science Daily, it was Snyder’s smart watch, as well as an oxygen sensor proved to help in detecting the initial signs and generating information that he might be ill.

The Stanford University study is name “Digital Health: Tracking Physiomes And Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information.” The study was recently published in the journal PLOS Biology, where the findings of Snyder and his team can be read in full.

As Science Daily describes, it appears that wearable technology is becoming more prevalent in the field of health and wellness. In November, the Inquisitr reported on a similar story in which a skin patch that collects sweat can help to collect information about an individual’s health.

Lyme disease, which is named after a town in Connecticut, has been known to be most widespread throughout the Northeast and midwest. However, according to Science Magazine, the disease has been quickly spreading across the United States over the past two decades, and it now affects roughly 300,000 people each year.

[Featured Image by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]