Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

The beat goes on

Exercise can help lower a person’s resting heart rate, which ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute for most adults. But using an estimated target heart rate to gauge exercise intensity is not necessarily reliable. Instead of trying to reach an arbitrary number, people should exercise based on their perceived effort. Another metric to consider checking is heart rate recovery, which assesses how quickly the heart rate drops or recovers after intense exercise. (Locked) More »

Can a smart watch diagnose a heart attack?

ECG readings taken with a smart watch may be just as accurate as a traditional ECG done in a medical setting. But the notion of using a smart watch to diagnose a heart attack is still years away. One main reason: obtaining an ECG with a smart watch requires carefully holding the back of the watch on the wrist and at eight specific locations on the chest and abdomen. Quality control and regulatory issues are other important hurdles that need to be addressed. But experts believe improved smart watches with enhanced diagnostic ability may be on the market within a decade. More »

Get connected with telemedicine

Telemedicine—interaction between patients and doctors by video or phone—has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. It increases doctor-patient communication and is ideal for follow-ups, routine check-ins for specific conditions, and consultation for minor issues, like sore throats, aches, pains, or skin spots. Older adults may have to improve their technology and online skill or have help in order to take full advantage of telemedicine. (Locked) More »

How do doctors evaluate treatments for heart disease?

Research on drugs, diets, and devices to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease includes clinical trials and observational studies. In clinical trials, volunteers are randomly assigned to receive either the new treatment or the comparison, which may be a placebo (an inactive therapy) or a treatment that’s already available. Observational studies follow a large group of people over a long period of time and gather information on diet, exercise, and medical and family history, for example. All studies have strengths and weaknesses, but the evidence from clinical trials is the most trustworthy. (Locked) More »

Simple home medical gadgets to protect your health

The modernization of standard home medical devices has made monitoring health easier than ever. These gadgets include thermometers, scales, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters. Gadget features that are especially helpful for older adults are easy operation and large, lighted readouts. It’s important that some home medical devices, such as blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters, have a seal of approval from an accredited agency, such as the FDA for pulse oximeters or the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation for blood pressure monitors. (Locked) More »

How do I measure exercise intensity?

Many experts recommend monitoring maximum heart rate to gauge exercise intensity. An easy way for people to measure their maximum heart rate is to use formulas based on their age. (Locked) More »

High-tech calls for help: Understanding gadget limits

Gadgets that can call for help in an emergency—such as a "smart" speaker, a mobile phone designed for older adults, or an alert button—have limitations. For example, a smart speaker has a limited listening range, and may not hear if someone is calling for help from another room. Smartphones and alert buttons won’t do any good if they aren’t being worn or if they’re not within reach. It’s best to learn about gadget limitations before investing in one. (Locked) More »

How accurate are wearable heart rate monitors?

Smart watches and wrist-worn fitness trackers that estimate a person’s heart rate appear to be reliable in people with a range of different skin tones. But their accuracy may vary during different types of everyday activities. More »