The NBA offers players a “smart” ring to track Covid. But it works?

But there is still not much information on how well the device works, which has integrated electronic components.

The $ 299 Oura ring is designed to control sleep, pulse, movement, heart activity, and temperature, according to the company’s website.

Some doctors are lukewarm about their potential.

“There is not a lot of data at the moment. There have been some studies that I’ve seen, most of the studies are published by device manufacturers,” said Dr. Darria Long, an emergency room physician and clinical assistant professor. at the University of Tennessee, he told CNN.

Other doctors contacted by CNN said there was too little solid information about the device for them to comment on.

The ring is one of about half a dozen portable devices that are being studied to see if they can detect the often subtle symptoms of coronavirus infection.

A team at Scripps Research is researching the potential of Apple Watch, Fitbits, Garmin, Oura devices, and others to see if they can accurately monitor a person’s reference temperature, heart rate, sleep, and daily movement, and use the changes to that data to detect the early onset of an infection.

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Finland-based Oura is paying for studies at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of West Virginia to see if the ring could provide useful data.

There is little evidence to suggest that pulse and temperature may change before people notice symptoms of infections like the flu.

A study published earlier this year showed that Fitbit’s heart rate and sleep data involving 200,000 people combined seemed to be in sync with the changing seasonal flu epidemic.

Long says the potential to study large groups of people to see if there is useful data that can be collected is interesting.

“But it doesn’t replace any of the other things that we should be doing, and the other steps that the NBA should be doing in terms of protecting its players, protecting its staff,” Long said. They should still be doing test groups and regular tests, all those other things. “

“Just don’t let it give us a false sense of security. Don’t stop wearing your mask because your Oura ring says you’re fine. You know, don’t skip the tests because everyone’s Oura ring says they’re fine.” “

Manufacturers have to demonstrate the accuracy of their devices

Device manufacturers first have to demonstrate that their devices can accurately measure and report things like a person’s temperature and heart rate.

Smart watches have been working on this problem for years. It is not necessarily easy to monitor the heart rate from a point on the top of the wrist. Trying to measure it from a ring is a new and even less proven approach.

Manufacturers would then have to demonstrate that this information can accurately detect an infection.

“I don’t care who, whether it’s Oura, Fitbit or Apple, none of them is necessarily proven,” Long said. “We cannot use it to give a false sense of security. We need to think of this as research data and ideas at this time.”

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The Oura device is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. USA To monitor health data. In 2018, the FDA approved two Apple apps to control atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm irregularity that can lead to stroke, as well as unusually slow or unusually fast heart rates.

NBA health and safety protocols mention a ring, but say little more.

“To promote efforts to identify potential illnesses, upon arrival on campus, each player and essential staff member will have the option to participate in a process that uses a portable device (worn as a ring) that is being studied and validated by the University of Michigan will generate a wellness assessment derived from metrics such as body temperature, respiratory and heart rate. The NBA will share additional details about the device and the process for participating in an upcoming memo to the teams, “the protocols read.