A device worn in the ear has been launched by STAT Health, which measures blood flow to the head to better understand symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, headaches, fainting and fatigue that occur on standing.

The symptoms are common in people with long Covid, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome and other orthostatic conditions.

Blood flow to the head is considered a key biomarker for this type of illness, according to the doctors at John Hopkins, Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical centres.

The wearable captures this vital information and presents it in a user-friendly manner to users via a STAT app. The data can help them to better understand and manage their symptoms.

In addition, for those who suffer from fainting episodes due to their condition, STAT Health says it can also predict fainting minutes before it happens.

The device has been clinically tested at John Hopkins and peer-reviewed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Peter Rowe, M.D., Sunshine Natural Wellbeing Foundation professor of chronic fatigue and related disorders, Johns Hopkins Medicine, said: “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.

“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.”

The STAT Health device uses an optical sensor to tap into a shallow ear artery in order to measure a proxy to ultrasound-derived CBF. It also incorporates an accelerometer, a pressure sensor, temperature sensors, AI edge computing and a micro solar panel to maintain its charge.

It detects each time a user stands and tracks how heart rate, blood pressure trend based on a 0-20 trend score and CBF change as a result of the change of movement.

It takes all of this information and distils it into an up score to track time spend upright and a flow score which helps users pace their recovery by watching for blood flow abnormalities.

Daniel Lee, co-founder and CEO of STAT Health, said: “After multiple engineering breakthroughs, we’ve succeeded in unlocking the ear to combine the convenience and long-term nature of wearables with the high fidelity nature of obtrusive clinical monitors.

“No other device comes close along the axes of wearability and cardiac signal quality, which is why we believe STAT is truly the world’s most advanced wearable.”

STAT Health is backed by $5.1 million in seed funding from J2 Ventures, BonAngels Venture Partners, and a diverse group of prominent angel investors. Additionally, it has also received grant funding from the US Air Force.

Last month we reported that EarSwitch had won the UKRI Healty Ageing Challenge Grant which will allow it to develops its EarMetrics technology – technology which is incorporated into standard hearing aids to allow a range of medical monitoring.