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Surprising Science

Major Heart Study Will Get Its Data From Personal Tech

The Health eHeart Study will use apps, sensors, and similar devices to collect real-time information on subjects. Those interested can also sign up on the study’s Web site without a doctor visit, a first for such a major study.

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers are looking for up to one million people to enroll in the Health eHeart Study, which will monitor heart health in real time using smartphone apps, sensors, and other newly available devices. Information to be collected includes blood pressure, diet, and sleep habits, and all of it will be used to measure warning signs for various heart conditions. Furthermore, no doctor’s visit is required in order to participate, which is unheard of in a research study of this size. Current participants say that the study helps them stay on top of their personal health.

What’s the Big Idea?

Health eHeart Study principal investigator Jeffrey Olgin says it’s basically “a large-scale digital version” of the highly influential Framingham Heart Study, which has been tracking residents of a Massachusetts town for the past 65 years. However, that study collects data from its participants every two years during a physical checkup, leaving gaps that Health eHeart’s real-time data collection can help fill. As expected, one big challenge faced by the researchers involves simply managing the amount of information received. Also, the smartphone requirement rules out participants who don’t own or can’t afford one.

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Read it at The Wall Street Journal


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