Jan 31, 2022

The Future Of Medicine: Fighting Deadly Diseases With Smart Devices And Digital Biomarkers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, mobile phones, neuroscience

What are biomarkers? They are medical signals that can measure health in an accurate and reproducible way. Common examples include blood pressure readings, heart rate, and even genetic test results.

Modern digital devices measure several health parameters. Fitbit trackers use sensors such as accelerometers to tell how many steps we’ve taken in a day or how fast we’ve been walking. When can such novel health measures function as medical biomarkers?

The measures must be objective, quantifiable, and reproducible. Additionally, scientific evidence needs to show that the health attribute measured by the device maps consistently and accurately to a clinical outcome. For example, voice signals from a smartphone’s microphone can detect mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease. World War II, commanders and troops communicated using hand-sent Morse codes. To avoid capture by enemies, telegraph operators had to remain anonymous. Any clues about operator identity or location could influence battle outcomes.

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