Bored With Your Fitbit? These Cancer Researchers Aren't


Bored With Your Fitbit? These Cancer Researchers Aren't

If you're trying to get in shape and you want a tiny, wrist-bound computer to help you do it, you have more options than ever before. Fitness trackers come in all shapes, colors, and price tags, with newfangled sensors and features to stand out to customers. But for doctors and scientists studying how exercise can help people deal with disease, the landscape is much simpler. There’s Fitbit, and then there’s everyone else.

Since 2012, scientists have published 457 studies using Fitbit device data, nearly half of them in 2017 alone. According to a recent analysis in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, that puts the company well ahead of its competition. In clinical trials that used consumer activity monitors, a full 83 percent outfitted trial participants with a Fitbit. For NIH-funded research, that number rose to 95 percent.

Steven Steinhubl, a cardiologist and the director of Digital Medicine at Scripps Translational Science Institute says wearable monitors shine most in research that compares you at one point in time to you at another. “If the goal is to specifically measure steps or calories with consumer technologies, it is difficult to compare different devices to each other,” he says. “On the other hand, if tracking the trajectory for an individual over time, they are ideal.”

My note: I've certainly noticed that when my resting heart rate has risen sharply over a few years I have generally been feeling ill at the time. So I can imagine that when comparing this data to lots of other indicators there can be interesting conclusions found.


Bored With Your Fitbit? These Cancer Researchers Aren't
Scientists are publishing more studies and enrolling more clinical trials using Fitbit devices than any other wearable fitness tracker out there.


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