San Diego scientists studying to see if wearable devices can reduce long COVID symptoms – NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego Researchers Explore Wearable Devices as Potential Solution to Alleviate Long COVID Symptoms – NBC 7 San Diego

Researchers at Scripps in La Jolla are embarking on a study with the hope that wrist-worn devices could offer relief to individuals suffering from long COVID symptoms.

In collaboration with CareEvolution, a health technology firm, the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center is exploring the potential of gadgets like smartwatches and fitness trackers. They aim to see if these devices can assist those with long COVID in managing and alleviating their symptoms by adopting a strategy known as “pacing yourself.”

The team has identified a similarity between long COVID symptoms and the exacerbated conditions patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experience after minor physical, mental, or emotional efforts. This observation comes from the extensive research conducted by Scripps.

![Scripps Researchers are studying to see if wrist-worn devices that monitor a long COVID patient’s energy exertion will improve their symptom management. (Scripps Research)](

### Long COVID Symptoms

It has been found that individuals with long COVID often face increased heart rates upon standing or walking, leading to dizziness and heart palpitations.

Monitoring energy levels has proven beneficial for these patients, allowing them to better manage their symptoms. This method, known as pacing, helps patients understand their limits of energy expenditure, which is conveniently displayed on their wrist-worn devices.

“One significant advantage of these wearables is they provide a ‘body battery’ metric, akin to a cell phone battery, ranging from zero to 100. This indicates your available energy for the day, offering real-time feedback. This immediate insight helps you decide when to rest or when you’re capable of tackling tasks,” explained Vogel.

Vogel also mentioned, “Although managing symptoms doesn’t tackle the root cause of long COVID, we’re hopeful that this study will confirm that pacing is an effective method for reducing symptom severity. Wearables could be a key tool in implementing this strategy.”

Drawing from her personal battle with long COVID, one of the researchers has contributed to the design of the study. She, along with many others, often experiences severe physical fatigue up to two days post-exertion. The goal is to aid individuals in better managing their symptoms through this study.

“New treatments and interventions are critically needed,” stated Julia Moore Vogel, PhD, the study’s lead investigator.

### Understanding Long COVID

Currently, around 65 million people are grappling with long COVID, a condition for which there are no broadly effective treatments, as per Scripps Research. Long COVID encompasses a range of symptoms persisting after the initial infection and can affect various organ systems including respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal, and immunological. For many, long COVID significantly alters their lives.

Trackers that monitor heart rate, heart rate variability, physical activity, sleep patterns, and stress levels have been instrumental in assessing a patient’s physiological state.

The Long COVID Wearable Study aims to determine whether the use of these trackers, coupled with educational materials on pacing, can reduce the severity of symptoms in long COVID patients. Additionally, the study will explore if the brand of tracker influences the outcomes.