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Lyme Disease Detection: Wearable Sensor Help Diagnose This Bacterial Infection

Update Date: Jan 16, 2017 09:00 AM EST

In the advent of technological advancement, especially in the field of medicine, diagnoses have become easier and faster. Now, wearable sensors can help diagnose Lyme disease, before it's too late.

In a study published in the journal PLOS Biology, scientists at Stanford University developed a wearable sensor that can detect if a person is falling ill, simply by monitoring one's vital signs. One of the diseases that can be detected by this smart watch is Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by infected black-legged ticks.

The smart watch gave a Stanford University professor an early warning that he was getting sick before he ever felt any symptoms of Lyme disease, KQED reports. Michael Snyder, a geneticist, never had the characteristic bulls-eye rash but the smart watch had charted the changes in his heart rate and oxygen rash. Later, he developed a fever, hinting a possible infection.

Snyder and his colleagues are now starting to find out and tracking the everyday lives of about 60 volunteers wearing the sensors that monitor not just their activities but also their general health.

"The information collected could aid your physician, although we can expect some initial challenges in how to integrate the data into clinical practice," said Snyder as reported by Science Daily.

This sensory could pave the way to the early diagnosis of disease and to implement the needed treatment options before it could get worse.

How Serious Is Lyme Disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

Symptoms of this infection include a headache, fatigue, fever and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If this disease is not detected right away and left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

One of the complications of this bacterial infection is Lyme carditis. When the bacteria enters the tissues of the heart and can interfere with the normal movement of electrical signs from the heart's chambers. As a result, this could lead to a condition called "heart block", which can be mild, moderate or severe.

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