iHealth’s role in Health eHeart study revealed

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 18, 2013        

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iHealth BP CuffWhen the news first broke back in March of the Health eHeart Study, a University of California in San Francisco study leveraging mobile health apps and connected consumer medical devices in an effort to track and monitor 1 million people in real-time, MobiHealthNews identified several of the devices being used in the study from publicity materials. One of those companies, San Francisco-based iHealth Lab (a subsidiary of China’s Andon Health) has announced more details about its role in the study.

Working with both UCSF and the University of California’s Berkeley Lab, researchers will use iHealth’s Bluetooth blood pressure monitor to measure flow-mediated dilation, (FMD) an early heart health assessor which is traditionally measured via ultrasound.

“Measuring blood flow through assessing endothelial function is theoretically a better predictor of future heart health than measuring cholesterol,” Berkeley Lab’s Dr. Jonathan Maltz said in a statement. “However, traditional methods of assessing endothelial function using ultrasonography require a great degree of skill, experience and subject compliance to obtain high-quality measurements. We have developed a method of measuring changes in the volume of the brachial artery that requires neither relatively costly and bulky ultrasound equipment, nor any technical skill on the part of the operator.”

Maltz’s method will use a combination of iHealth’s device and a mobile application specially designed for the study by iHealth. In Phase 1 of the trial, conducted in collaboration with the VA, cuff measurements will be compared to ultrasound measurements taken at the same time, to establish accuracy.

“Using iHealth’s technology in this study makes collecting data much easier, cost effective and scalable than using the conventional [ultrasound] methodology,” said Dr. Jeffrey Olgin, chief of cardiology at UCSF. “Our hope is that data from this clinical study will help prove a new clinical method for being able to more accurately predict if an individual is in imminent danger of having a heart attack.”

Adam Lin, President of iHealth Lab, has told MobiHealthNews in the past that the company wants to move toward a more clinical bent.

“iHealth’s focus, even though we are grouped together with the activity people, the lifestyle folks, we’re really moving into more of a health and wellness [direction],” he told MobiHealthNews in October. “We’re certainly moving into vitals we think are really within the health and wellness space, not just in lifestyle or fashion.”