The Apple Watch is effective in predicting the pain scores of folks with sickle cell disease

Image source: Jon Prosser & Ian Zelbo

A new report from researchers of a coalition including Duke University and Northwestern University offers details of a study to determine the feasibility of using the Apple Watch to predict the pain scores in people with sickle cell disease. It found that the smartwatch had a “strong performance” in predicting pain scores. 

The study enrolled 20 patients with sickle cell disease, all of whom identified as Black or African American and consisted of 12 (60%) females and 8 (40%) males. There were 14 individuals diagnosed with hemoglobin type SS (70%). The median age of the population was 35.5 (IQR 30-41) years. 

The median time each individual spent wearing the Apple Watch was 2 hours and 17 minutes and a total of 15,683 data points were collected across the population. All models outperformed the null models, and the best-performing model was the random forest model, which was able to predict the pain scores with an accuracy of 84.5%, and a RMSE of 0.84.

Conclusions: The strong performance of the model in all metrics validates feasibility and the ability to use data collected from a noninvasive device, the Apple Watch, to predict the pain scores during VOCs. The researchers found that Apple Watch is a “novel and feasible approach and presents a low-cost method that could benefit clinicians and individuals with sickle cell disease in the treatment of VOCs [vaso-occulsive crises.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.