Apple introduced the electrical heart rate sensor along with the ECG app with Apple Watch Series 4. The feature can record your heartbeat and rhythm, and then check the recording for atrial fibrillation (AFib), a form of irregular rhythm. At present, the feature is available on Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, Series 8 or Ultra along with the Apple Watch Series 4.

According to a report by 9to5Mac, a study has concluded that the Watch’s ECG sensor data can be used to develop a robust and accurate stress prediction tool. The study was conducted by the researchers from the Canada-based University of Waterloo.

ECG or electrocardiogram is a test that records the timing and strength of the electrical signals that make the heart beat. By looking at an ECG, a doctor can gain insights about your heart rhythm and look for irregularities.

The report said that using the Apple Watch Series 6's ECG sensor, researchers found that there was a close association between ECG data, including heart acceleration and deceleration capacity, and participants' reported stress levels at the time the readings were taken.

Using this data, machine learning algorithms were developed to create a prediction model. It said that while the stress models are said to have a ‘high level of precision,’ but lower recall.

The study concluded that the Apple Watch has ‘promising’ potential for stress prediction. It suggested that since the device collects additional health information such as sleep and activity information, even more data points could be integrated into stress models to refine the predictive accuracy.

The research also speculated that the Apple Watch can also be used to aid mental health care. It can offer activities such as breathing exercises to offset stress signals and responding early to changes in mental health.

How to take an ECG using Apple Watch

Before taking an ECG using Apple Watch, make sure that your Apple Watch is snug and on the wrist that you selected in the Apple Watch app.

- Next, open the ECG app on your Apple Watch.

- Rest your arms on a table or in your lap.

- With the hand opposite your watch, hold your finger on the Digital Crown. You don't need to press the Digital Crown during the session.

- Wait for the recording. It usually takes 30 seconds.

- At the end of the recording, you will receive a classification, then you can tap Add Symptoms and choose your symptoms.

- Tap Save to note any symptoms, then tap Done.

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