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12-08-2020 | Gout | News

News in brief

Wearable activity trackers could highlight gout flares

Author: Claire Barnard


medwireNews: The authors of a proof-of-concept study have demonstrated the feasibility of using wearable devices to measure changes in patterns of physical activity that may be indicative of gout flares.

In the study, 33 smartphone users with physician-diagnosed gout, hyperuricemia, and two or more self-reported flares in the previous 6 months were asked to wear a FitBit® activity tracker (San Francisco, California, USA) to measure step count and sleep data for 6 months, and to complete weekly gout flare reports.

Kenneth Saag (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA) and team report that activity trackers were worn on 60.5% of the total study days among all participants; the devices were worn for more than 80% of the time on 68% of these days, corresponding to “compliant wear with sleep.”

When the team focused on the data obtained from days with this designation, which included a total of 442 flare days and 1791 non-flare days, they found that the average step count was significantly lower on flare days, at 5900 compared with 6973 on non-flare days.

This study demonstrates “reasonable feasibility” of using wearable activity tracking devices in arthritis research, and that “[t]he use of these devices to passively measure changes in physical activity patterns may provide an estimate of gout flare occurrence and duration,” write Saag and team in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

They conclude: “Future larger studies including those with subset analysis, such as examining response by types of urate lowering therapy, will be important.”

Arthritis Res Ther 2020; 22: 181

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