Fitbit's heart rate controversies haven't stopped researchers from using the fitness trackers for medical research. Fitbit has worked with various groups before and now it's working on its biggest collaboration to date by partnering up with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Research will be conducted by the institute using Fitbit Charge HR trackers freely given out to 3,200 women with early stage breast cancer. The study will attempt to figure out if exercise helps prevent breast cancer from recurring.
Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a breast oncologist at Dana-Farber and lead investigator of the trial says, "The increased risk of cancer recurrence linked to excess body weight threatens to limit our progress in treating breast cancer and preventing women from dying from this disease.
"If this study shows that losing weight through increasing physical activity and reducing calories improves survival rates in breast cancer, this could lead to weight loss and physical activity becoming a standard part of the treatment for millions of breast cancer patients around the world."
The participants will also receive a Fitbit Aria Smart Scale to help monitor weight, BMI, lean mass and body fat percentage plus access to FitStar.
The study will take six years to complete and volunteers can sign up on 1 August. However it appears final data collection is estimated to end May 2030 totalling 14 years before any conclusions are made. That's a long time to wait for results, but it could change lives making the wait worth it.