Researchers Use Fitbit in Post-Cancer Treatment Studies

The utility of fitness trackers has grown exponentially over the years, and now cancer researchers have found another way to help track vitals of post-cancer survivors.

Researchers with the National Institute of Health, are using Fitbit trackers to help patients recovering from a variety of cancers, to determine the efficacy of exercise before, during and after cancer treatment.

A recent article published by NIH researchers in 2016, titled: Understanding physical activity in cancer patients and survivors: new methodology, new challenges, and new opportunities, provides an overview of the potential benefits of accelerometers, and several challenges, of using these devices in both research and clinical settings, along with recommendations for future applications.

Given the worldwide incidence and prevalence of cancer, there is increasing interest in physical activity as a non-pharmacological intervention and prevention method (Speck et al. 2010). The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that 20%–25% of cancers are related to risk factors that are modifiable through behavior change, including overweight/obesity, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity (American Cancer Society 2015)–www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Researchers are determining that breast cancer patients are benefitting from tracking their daily activities, concluding that exercise has strong rebounding affects when facing brain and body fog, due to chemotherapy treatment. The use of Fitbit technology, simplifies data monitoring for these patients, limiting the responsibility of data collection, narrowing the responsibilities down to; remembering to charge and simply wear their fitness tracker, leaving the data collection to Fitabase.

Thanks to Fitabase, a data mining platform, compatible with Fitbit’s Application Programming Interface (API), which allows data scientists to gather information, in order to monitor cancer patients, regarding treatment plans designed to help continue in the recovery process for cancer survivors.

After the launch of Fitabase in 2012 , the John’s Hopkins Anderson Cancer Center & the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, have collected more than 2.0 billion minutes of fitness data from Fitbit.

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