AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Activity Trackers Used to Monitor Symptoms in Transplant Patients

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In a study conducted by researchers from UNC Lineberger, Fitbit activity trackers were used to track the physical activity of 32 patients who underwent bone marrow transplants and found that decreases in average daily steps were associated with increases in pain, fatigue, nausea and reduction in self-reported physical activities. The findings, published in the journal Quality of Life Research, indicate that activity trackers could be a useful tool for tracking symptoms and physical function systematically, particularly for patients who may not be able to self-report their symptoms because of language barriers, literacy or cognitive health. “Physical function can be measured in many different ways — from performance testing to patient-reporting to passively observed daily activity,” the study’s lead researcher said. “Studies like this demonstrate that wearable devices can measure an aspect of physical function that is directly related to symptomatic toxicities following treatment … As clinicians, we often want to know — overall, how well are our patients doing with treatment? Are they better, worse, or about the same? Data from wearable devices may allow us to answer these questions with much more precision than we’ve had in the past.” To read more about this study, click here.

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