Excerpts from News Releases

Eric Topol, MD, Professor of Genomics, Scripps Research Institute

“I was very impressed with all the data that was collected,” said Eric Topol, MD, professor of genomics at the Scripps Research Institute, who was not involved in the study. “There’s a lot here — a lot of sensors and a lot of different data on each person.”

The desaturation of oxygen in flight was not something I anticipated,” said Topol. “Whenever you walk up and down the aisle of a plane, everyone is sleeping, and I guess there may be another reason for that besides that they partied too hard the night before. That was really interesting, and I thought it was great that the authors did that.”

Topol noted that one of the biosensors used in the study doesn’t work very well and that another has been recalled. “A few are not going to hold up,” he said. “Either they are not going to be available or they are going to be proven to not be very accurate. But what is good about what the authors did here is that they weren’t just relying on one device. They did everything they could with the kind of sensors that are available today to get data that was meaningful.”

For complete article, visit Stanford Medicine.

Atul Butte, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCSF and Director of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences

“This work with device-driven measurements is really going to help inform major cohort-based projects, like those proposed in the Precision Medicine Initiative,” writes Atul Butte, Director of the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF, in an email. “Eventually these tools have to play a role in medical care,” he says. 

No, don’t try to self-diagnose with your fitness tracker any time soon. The findings in Thursday’s report are intriguing but the study is highly experimental, cautioned [...] Butte.

“This kind of approach is going to help science more than the general public” until there’s better data about what’s normal or not, Butte said. “Remember, the baseline is always in motion. We’re always getting older. We’re always exposed to things. Just because there’s a deviation doesn’t mean it’s abnormal.”

For complete article, please visit Wired and CBSNews.

Michael Snyder, Professor and Chair of Genetics, and Director of Stanford Center for Genomics & Personalized Medicine

“Too much of the time we spend time measuring people when they’re sick,” Snyder says. “What we really want to understand is what does it mean to define a healthy state, then quickly identify deviations from that state [when someone is falling ill]. I think the wearables are going to be a big part of that.”

Snyder compares the information from the sensors with seeing the “check engine” light in your car. “You might hear some knocks” in the engine beforehand, tipping you off to a potential problem, but “it’s nice to see a little light when something’s not right,” he says.

“We will see personal markers of aging as we follow people very closely,” he says. “Understanding your baseline while you’re healthy is really, really important.”

For complete article, please visit Scientific American