The Powerful Promise of Wearables

Michael Snyder, PhD


August 24, 2022

MICHAEL SYNDER: You don't drive your car without a dashboard. Why would you go around without a dashboard for your health? You may not realize it, but 3.8 billion people on the planet have a smartphone. And if you compare that with a smartwatch or a ring or what have you, you actually have a health monitoring system for more than half the planet.

My name's Mike Snyder. I'm chair of the genetics department at the Stanford School of Medicine. I also direct the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine. We got into wearables because I think the health care system is broken.

We're very reactive. We tend to treat people when they're ill as opposed to keeping them healthy. So when fitness trackers first came out, people would use them for just that. We realized they were pretty powerful monitors, so we started testing them out.

And I became so enamored with them that I, in fact, am wearing four smartwatches right now-- these hearing aids I got, which track my steps. They can tell if somebody falls. And the key is to catch disease early. And that's what's powerful about these-- they can catch disease prior to symptom onset.

I think one area of the future could be implantables. People working on sweat patches. There are groups out there that are working on lactate sensors and ketone sensors. Wearables are so powerful because they measure you 24/7. So if something goes wrong, you'll get a shift.

And that's very, very easy to pick up, and it can be very subtle. And you can detect it early, even before a symptom's onset. And that's, again, what's so powerful. These devices will follow you in incredible detail.

This video originally appeared on WebMD on August 23, 2022

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