Apple Watch Series 6 oxygen sensor just as good as hospital equipment

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The Apple Watch Series 6 is a "reliable way" to monitor oxygen saturation in patients with lung conditions, according to a University of Sao Paulo study, one that could help in future medical treatments.

The Apple Watch Series 6 introduced a blood oxygen sensor to the wearable device, providing users with more of an idea about their overall fitness. In a study, it seems that Apple's sensor addition could have some serious medical applications.

The study from Brazil's University of Sao Paulo, published in Nature Magazine and spotted by 9to5Mac put the Apple Watch Series 6 against a pair of commercial pulse oximeters. Approximately 100 patients from an outpatient pneumology clinic with interstitial lung disease (ILD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were analyzed with the devices.

"Strong positive correlations" were observed between the Apple Watch and the commercial oximeters for evaluating heart rate measurements and oximetry. While the Apple Watch did tend to report higher oximetry figures on average, the study "did not observe significant differences" for both blood oxygen and heart rate figures.

The study concludes "our results indicate that Apple Watch 6 [sic] is a reliable way to obtain heart rate and SPO2 in patients with lung diseases under controlled conditions. The advance of smartwatch technology continues to improve and studies to assess accuracy and reliability in various types of disease should be carried out."

Apple is also conducting its own studies into various medical areas, in partnership with outside organizations. In April, it partnered with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study to see if the Apple Watch could predict illnesses, like the fu, or other respiratory ailments.

In September, Biogen started a study with Apple and UCLA into how the Apple Watch could detect symptoms of neurological diseases, including dementia and depression.