MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dennis P. Wall, PhD
Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry (by courtesy) and Biomedical Data Science
MedicalResearch.com: What did we already know about the potential for apps and wearables to help kids with autism improve their social skills, and how do the current study findings add to our understanding? What’s new/surprising here and why does it matter for children and families?
Response: We have clinically tested apps/AI for diagnosis (e.g. https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002705) in a number of studies.
This RCT is a third phase of a phased approach to establish feasibility and engagement through in-lab and at-home codesign with families with children with autism. This stepwise process is quite important to bring a wearable form of therapy running AI into the homes in a way that is clinically effective.
What’s new here, aside from being a first in the field, is the rigorous statistical approach we take with an intent-to-treat style of analysis. This approach ensures that the effect of the changes are adjusted to ensure that any significance observed is due to the treatment. Thus, with this, it is surprising and encouraging to see an effect on the VABS socialization sub-scale. This supports the hypothesis that the intervention has a true treatment effect and increases the social acuity of the child.
With it being a home format for intervention that can operate with or without a clinical practitioner, it increases options and can help bridge gaps in access to care, such as when on waiting lists or if the care process is inconsistent. Continue reading
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Founder and CEO of Biotricity Inc
MedicalResearch.com: In light of Apple’s announcement that it will incorporate an EKG monitoring device into Apple watches in the near future, would you discuss your vision of the growing medical wearables market?
Response: First of all, the public is still largely confused as to what constitutes a medical wearable device. Apple’s new watch, with its EKG monitoring service, is not a medical wearable because it will not produce clinical-grade data needed for diagnosis or treatment. This is not to say that Apple’s watch isn’t helpful. Many people are not even aware that they have a heart problem, but if their Apple watch consistently tells them that they have an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, they could take that as a sign to go to a physician and get a professional diagnosis. A physician will then prescribe a medical wearable device, such as our Bioflux, to monitor the patient’s heart rhythm. Medical-grade wearable devices produce clinical-grade data that is accurate to within 90-95 percent or higher and are prescribed by physicians to make diagnoses and treatment plans.
That being said, I envision that the medical wearables market will expand considerably with the advent of consumer-based wearables that facilitate health tracking. One of the biggest problems we have today is a lack of awareness. Anywhere between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation – a condition that makes the heart beat irregularly – and many aren’t aware that they have the condition. Consumer-based health trackers like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch can help raise awareness and alert consumers to possible health issues, which will encourage them to see a physician for a thorough and professional examination and diagnosis. This, in turn, gives the medical wearable market a boost as more people will be diagnosed with the aid of a medical wearable. Another factor that is playing into this adoption trend is that next-generation medical wearables are increasingly becoming smaller and easier to use for both patients and physicians. So, I think that the future of medical wearables will see them firmly entrenched in mainstream practice and eventually become tools within the home for individuals with chronic issues. Continue reading