What You Should Know:
- Today, STAT Health emerges from stealth to introduce a 24/7 in-ear wearable that measures blood flow to the head to better understand symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, headaches, fainting, and fatigue that occur upon standing. These are common symptoms for illnesses like long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and other orthostatic (caused by standing) syndromes that affect more than 13 million Americans.
- Clinically tested at Johns Hopkins and peer-reviewed in the March 2023 issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the device has been shown to predict fainting minutes before it happens. The company is backed by $5.1 million in seed funding from J2 Ventures, BonAngels Venture Partners, and a diverse group of prominent angel investors. The company has also received grant funding from the U.S. Air Force.
Using the Ear as a Biometric Gold Mine to Better Understand Symptoms
Many people with illnesses like long COVID, POTS, and ME/CFS suffer from symptoms caused by reduced blood flow to the brain upon standing. While theoretically understood, this has been difficult to experimentally prove, until now. Doctors at Johns Hopkins, Brigham and Women’s, and Harvard Medical School have used ultrasound to demonstrate that Cerebral Blood Flow (ultrasound-measured flow in cerebral arteries as a method of quantifying blood flow to the head) is a key biomarker that objectively measures the presence and severity of many of these “invisible illnesses.”
“Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF) is the critical missing vital sign – poor CBF is the cause of common orthostatic symptoms such as dizziness and brain fog. My Dutch colleagues have measured this with ultrasound on over a thousand patients.” said Peter Rowe, M.D., Sunshine Natural Wellbeing Foundation Professor of Chronic Fatigue and Related Disorders, Johns Hopkins Medicine. “However, it’s not easy to measure CBF, so most clinics approximate using secondary metrics of Heart Rate and Blood Pressure, which often mislead. Unfortunately, this frequently leads to the wrong conclusion that the symptoms are just psychological, when in fact, there are physiological abnormalities.”
To fit into a wearable form factor, STAT uses an optical sensor instead of ultrasound and taps into a shallow ear artery to measure a proxy to ultrasound-derived Cerebral Blood Flow.