Apple Watch and AI used in Stanford study to help identify CRPS triggers in children

Participants will have their health and daily activity tracked by the smartwatch
Wareable Apple Watch stanford CRPS study
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A new study will use the Apple Watch to help pinpoint the triggers of pain episodes in children afflicted with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), in the hope of developing strategies for dealing with the condition.

Participants will wear an Apple Watch Series 8 for six months as they collect data on potential physiological, dietary, and environmental triggers, with Stanford researchers analyzing it through the clinical research AI platform Medeloop.

"Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a severely disabling condition that usually affects the limbs, after injury or surgery," a description from the study reads.

"The main symptoms are severe pain, swelling, loss of range of motion, temperature changes, and changes in the skin. Although CRPS can occur anywhere in the body, it usually affects an arm, leg, hand, or foot."

It's not clear how many participants are involved, though it will focus on children aged between 8 and 17 years old.

The role of the smartwatch will be to measure pulse rate, oxygen saturation, time in daylight, ECG, and movement levels, with other metrics including heart rate variability, sleep hours, daily distance walked, ground contact balance, and more.

WareableApple Watch tracker

Medeloop software will harness the location data and cross-reference corresponding environmental and daily weather data - including air quality and other atmospheric conditions - with pain flares recorded through the platform's app. 

The hope is that creating this database of real-time information will help identify some trends in when and how pain flares occur, with strategies then formed to help deal with acute episodes.

It's not the first time we've seen the Apple Watch involved in a pediatric study from Stanford, of course. In 2023, researchers found that the smartwatch can identify abnormal rhythms in kids

However, this is the first time we've seen an Apple Watch study related to CRPS.

And we'll keep our eye out for the findings of this one - the results will likely be published towards the end of the year or in early 2025.

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Conor Allison


Conor joined Wareable in 2017, quickly making a name for himself by testing out language translation earbuds on a first date, navigating London streets in a wearable airbag, and experiencing skydiving in a VR headset.

Over the years, he has evolved into a recognized wearables and fitness tech expert. Through Wareable’s instructional how-to guides, Conor helps users maximize the potential of their gadgets, and also shapes the conversation in digital health and AI hardware through PULSE by Wareable.

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