In a groundbreaking study initiated in 2020 by researchers in California, the potential of fitness trackers like the Oura Ring to identify early indications of COVID-19 was explored. The study, intriguingly, also revealed a link between depressive symptoms in participants and the body temperature data recorded by the Oura Ring. Read on to discover more details.
The University of California's TemPredict Study commenced in 2020, spanned seven months, and involved 20,880 participants from 106 different countries. This study aimed to assess whether Oura Rings could serve as an early detection tool for COVID-19. The results were affirmative, with the Oura Ring able to signal potential infections approximately 2.75 days before participants received a positive COVID-19 test result.
Oura Rings are equipped with biometric sensors that provide extensive health data, including heart rate, blood oxygen levels, sleep patterns, and crucially, body temperature. Oura's website states that the device tracks temperature and heart rate shifts to potentially indicate early signs of illness.
A recent development from this study, as published in a Scientific Reports article on February 5, indicates that Oura Rings might also be capable of detecting depressive symptoms in individuals. Participants in the study provided not only their vital statistics collected by the Oura Ring but also daily self-reported assessments of their emotional and mental well-being.
The study observed that participants who reported higher body temperatures during wakefulness also indicated experiencing depressive symptoms more frequently, as per their daily survey responses. The researchers noted:
"These analyses confirm previous findings that daytime self-reported body temperature correlates with increased depressive symptoms and expand upon past research showing that the temperature difference between asleep and awake states is significantly larger in non-depressed individuals compared to those with depression."
While the exact relationship between depression and body temperature regulation remains uncertain, the researchers pointed out that depression seems to alter the body’s natural immune-based regulatory system.
This suggests that while non-depressed individuals typically experience natural temperature fluctuations throughout the day and over time, those with depression do not. Instead, they appear to have a harder time regulating their body temperature, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.