Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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www.clinicalomics.com March/April 2019 Clinical OMICs 11 104,000 participants—of an eventual 1 million—have com- pleted the All of Us initial protocol, which includes pro- viding consent to access their electronic health records, completing surveys, and providing physical measurements and biological samples. Researchers will also collect Fitbit data from participants who already own the devices and, in the future, provide the devices to some of those who do not. "Our purpose is to find new digital biomarkers," said Chris Lunt, chief technology officer for All of Us. "We are living in a day where the affordability and the acuity of these devices are really good and we can take advantage of an existing commercial product that allows us to get information on people's activity level." Right now, he said, researchers are exploring data quality and, in the future, they will address how to best share the data with researchers. "There is a lot we are trying to learn." Better Science According to Fitbit's Pellegrini, the obvious benefits of using wearables in clinical research are the reduced costs and the improved participant engagement. But, he added, they also have the potential to make the science better by eliminat- ing bias. "Health data from wearable devices can also help researchers overcome the challenges of subjective bias when participants log their own data." Wearables can also gener- ate novel endpoints. "Until the advent of wearable devices, many types of health data, such as the quantity and quality of sleep, were not accessible to study participants without visiting a sleep lab." Use of the devices also has the potential to expand access to hard-to-reach populations. "Wearables can help to facilitate virtual trials… so people can partici- pate from the comfort of their own home." Wearables can also improve the information collected by allowing researchers to ask more granular questions. "We can now collect far more data points that contribute to one variable," said Scott Collier, Ph.D., a professor of cardiovas- cular exercise science at Appalachian State University. Col- lier and his colleagues have studied the impact of consumer physical activity monitors on human physiology research. He spends much of his time comparing the accuracy of the latest wearable technology to gold-standard laboratory devices. When it comes to heart rate monitoring, for exam- ple, Collier said scientists can now look at that measure in a person's own environment. "A lot of different things contribute to heart rate that we have never paid attention to before." These might include time of day, exercise lev- els, and situational stress. Combining heart rate with other biomarkers, such as activity tracking data and pulse wave velocity—an indication of the stiffness of arteries that is measured by the latest home body weight scales such as PhysioWave Pro—will allow for more precision care. "We can manage chronic conditions better because we can account for life stressors." Biomarkers of Mental Health At HealthRhythms, a company with a software platform that allows physicians and clinical researchers to look at various biomarkers relevant to mental health, CEO Tan- zeem Choudhury, Ph.D. and her team are trying to merge (continued on next page) Fitbit

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