Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is expected to increase in the near future thanks to its association with persistent COVID-19. It’s characterized by severe fatigue that can affect one’s ability to perform normal everyday tasks. A recent Medgadget article described a new wearable device intended to monitor the severity of the condition, which is useful because it doesn’t currently have diagnostic biomarkers or treatments. This may be due to the fact that the condition has been historically dismissed by the medical community.
The device was developed by researchers in Catalonia, Spain who discovered that heart rate variability may be correlated with ME disease severity. Heart rate variability refers to small differences between consecutive heart beats, and is an indicator of autonomic nervous function. The wearable consists of a chest strap sensor that’s paired via Bluetooth to an app that allows patients to monitor their condition and shares the information with their doctor. In the future, it will be possible to apply the underlying technology into third party devices such as smart watches.