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"The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case." Pixabay

Wearable devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can be used to estimate exercise capacity and determine the health status of patients, says a new study.

Determining how far patients with pulmonary disease can walk in six minutes has long been an effective clinical tool to help physicians determine their exercise capacity, as well as to aid in predicting health outcomes and mortality.


The new research suggests that devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches can replace the standardised six-minute walk distance test, which is usually conducted in a clinical setting.

Data from wrist-worn step trackers may be used in clinical care at higher intervals to effectively monitor patient progress and disease management, said the study.

“For patients, this means we can track their progress more frequently in a manner that’s less expensive and more convenient than current standardised testing,” said lead investigator of the study Denitza Blagev from Intermountain Healthcare in the US.

The six-minute walk distance is an important, objective standard used to assess exercise capacity.

Patients walk for six minutes and, then based on how many metres they cover in that time, physicians can predict outcomes and mortality for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases.


Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease. Pixabay

“Normally, the 6WMD (six-minute walk distance) test is done every few months or once a year. Now, we may be able to measure patients on a regular basis and know if we need to intervene if their estimated 6WMD by step count changes,” said Blagev.

In the study, researchers conducted a 12-week, blinded, randomised, cross-over trial with 52 patients, a group that included adults with a history of respiratory problems during periods of elevated air pollution. Wrist step counters tracked patient steps for those 12 weeks and patients also filled out respiratory symptom questionnaires.

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Researchers found they could effectively estimate a patient’s six-minute walk distance results by using step counters, instead of having patients come in a clinical setting to do the test.

“Instead of having one measurement every few months, you could have weekly measurements, and have information at disease progression at more frequent intervals. This is a significant improvement and enhanced convenience for our patients,” said Blagev.

Findings from the study were were presented on Sunday at the European Respiratory Society International Congress meetings in Madrid. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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