Wrist temperature associated with future risk of disease

A new study from Penn Medicine highlights the potential for monitoring disease risk through inexpensive, unintrusive continuous measures of skin temperature.

Continuous wrist temperature monitoring can uncover insights into the potential for future disease risk for ailments like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, kidney failure, and more. These new findings from Perelman School of Medicine researchers, published in Nature Communications, shows that accurate, continued digital monitoring of skin temperature can give deeper medical insights.

A person checking their smartwatch.
Image: iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Previously, disrupted temperature rhythms had only been linked to a handful of conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Now, this research provides insights from a large population, and it indicates a wider spectrum of conditions are associated with poor temperature rhythms, measured in wrist temperature amplitude (the difference between the minimum and maximum temperature over the course of 24 hours).

“These findings indicate the potential to marry emerging technology with health monitoring in a powerful new way,” says Carsten Skarke, an adjunct associate professor of medicine, Robert L. McNeil Jr. fellow in translational medicine and therapeutics, and the study’s senior author. “For example, there are many who have smart watches around their wrists, which already include skin temperature sensors. In the future, this information may be leveraged with their care teams as a digital biomarker, to understand their risk to develop certain diseases and to navigate treatment or preventative care options.”

The findings indicate that the daily peaks and valleys observed in one’s wrist temperature curve might matter for health. The flatter this landscape becomes, the higher the risk for chronic diseases.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.