18 more clinical trials using Fitbit activity trackers right now

By Jonah Comstock
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Last month, MobiHealthNews published a list of 21 clinical trials currently using a Fitbit activity tracker. That wasn't the whole list, though. In fact, our search turned up so many trials with the Fitbit -- and again, not even including the many other wearable activity trackers on the market -- that we had to split the results into two articles.

Read on below for 18 more trials using Fitbit devices for everything from diabetes and heart health to lupus and dementia. 

Who? Yale University
What? Promoting physical activity in young adults with Type 2 diabetes
Estimated completion date? January 2019

In this study of 60 participants, everyone will use a Fitbit activity tracker to monitor their steps for 12 weeks. The experiment group will get some kind of incentive reward for meeting their step goals, however, while the control group will not. Over the course of the 12 weeks, researchers will compare the groups on how well they met step goals, as well as on health metrics like weight, BMI, and blood pressure.

Who? National University in Singapore
What? Using mobile technology to promote physical activity in a general population
Estimated completion date? September 2016

Seventy-four people were enrolled in this study, aimed at promoting physical activity in a general population in Singapore. The control group was given educational information about physical activity, while the intervention group was given a Fitbit, an online map of Singapore with information about available activities, and personalized text messages.

Who? Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan
What? Comparing Fitbits and health coaching in heart patients
Estimated completion date? August 2016

In this three-arm study of 33 heart failure patients with implantable devices, one experiment group was given Fitbit Zip activity trackers, one was given weekly health coaching from a physical therapist, and one was given usual care. The outcome measure was activity, as measured by the patients’ implanted devices.

Who? University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
What? Using activity trackers to improve fitness for stem cell transplant patients
Estimated completion date? June 2019

This study of 60 patients uses the Fitbit Surge combined with an at-home, interval exercise training (IET) program to determine whether an exercise intervention will improve outcomes and quality of life for patients preparing for a stem cell transplant.

Who? Washington University School of Medicine
What? Using the Fitbit Flex to encourage movement in stem cell transplant patients
Estimated completion date? June 2016

Much like the UNC study above, this one is built around encouraging exercise in stem cell transplant patients. In this case, the target for the 30 pediatric patients, 15 of whom will use a Fitbit Flex, is six hours of out-of-bed time per day.

Who? University of California, San Francisco
What? Encouraging healthy behavior in prostate cancer patients 
Estimated completion date? June 2017

This study of 76 patients will pair Fitbits with a web-based, personalized lifestyle program to encourage healthy behaviors in prostate cancer patients in the hopes of improving their physical and mental health outcomes. 

Who? New York University School of Medicine
What? Using mobile health tools to reduce chronic kidney disease progression
Estimated completion date? September 2016

In this study, both the control and experiment groups will wear Fitbit activity trackers, and the activity data will serve as a primary outcome measure. The study tests the efficacy of an iPad self-monitoring app in 40 patients with co-morbid chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Who? Bayer
What? Evaluating the Fitbit as an alternative to the 6-minute walk test
Estimated completion date? December 2016

The only pharma-run trial involving a Fitbit in the ClinicalTrials.gov database, this study of 40 patients at multiple sites will compare Fitbit data with the results of a traditional six-minute walk test in patients with symptomatic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) or Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH).

Who? Florida State University
What? Using activity as a proxy for caregiver burden
Estimated completion date? June 2016

This is another study where Fitbit data is used for an outcome measure. In this case, the intervention is a weekly educational program for caregivers of patients with dementia. Fitbit data is a secondary outcome measure — the study is designed to help prevent depression and improve quality of life for caregivers, and activity is one way those are being tracked.

Who? University of Pennsylvania
What? Testing the effect of routine on behavioral interventions 
Estimated completion date? April 2016

In this 4,000-person study, employees at a Fortune 500 company will be assigned to a number of different intervention groups, some of whom will be paid for engaging in physical activity. Some will only receive the incentive if they work out at a certain time, while some will receive it regardless. Researchers will compare gym visits and Fitbit data to determine the effectiveness of various interventions.

Who? Emory University
What? Testing the effect of walking on cognitive function in older adults with HIV
Estimated completion date? July 2016 

In this study, 40 patients with HIV, ages 50 and up, will participate in an exercise program. Researchers will compare their cognitive function as well as their activity levels, measured via the Fitbit among other things.

Who? Hospital for Special Surgery, New York
What? Evaluating a Fitbit for monitoring step count in lower back patients
Estimated completion date? September 2016

Thirty patients undergoing lumbar epidural steroid injection will use a Fitbit before and after the procedure in this study. “Our main hypothesis is to demonstrate pedometer measured step count can be used to measure efficacy of pain interventions,” researchers write.

Who? Northwestern University
What? Testing a home exercise intervention with peripheral artery disease patients
Estimated completion date? December 2017

This study of 200 patients tests the efficacy of a home-based exercise intervention, which includes a Fitbit, among patients with peripheral artery disease. They will test whether the intervention group has improved walking ability, physical activity, mobility, pain, and social functioning.

Who? UC Davis
What? Using the Fitbit to measure energy expenditure in spinal cord stimulation patients
Estimated completion date? December 2016

In this small 18-person trial, researchers will compare energy expenditure, steps, and sleep in patients before and after a spinal cord stimulation procedure. The Fitbit will be used as a measurement tool.

Who? Mount Sinai Medical Center
What? Encouraging activity in caregivers of preschoolers
Estimated completion date? June 2018

This study of the caregivers of preschool children in Harlem will split 1,000 subjects into three groups, a control group, a group that gets an intensive individual intervention to encourage more activity, and a group that gets a peer-to-peer intervention. The intensive individual group will use Fitbits along with one-on-one personalized coaching.

Who? Northwestern University
What? The Fitbit as part of a program to address fatigue in people with lupus
Estimated completion date? December 2022

Two hundred patients will be enrolled in this trial, which looks to reduce fatigue symptoms in people with lupus by increasing their activity. The intervention group will use the Fitbit in combination with individualized coaching sessions, while the control group will have group educational sessions and no Fitbit.

Who? University of Colorado, Denver
What? Encouraging activity in older adults with Type 2 diabetes
Estimated completion date? December 2017

In this study, 130 adults, aged 50 to 85, with type 2 diabetes will be randomized into a control or intervention group. In the intervention group, why’ll be given a combination of biweekly counseling and electronic and paper tracking tools, including a Fitbit.

Who? York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
What? Feasibility study of pre-surgical activity program
Estimated completion date? April 2017

In this study, researchers will test an at-home program for increasing physical activity prior to colorectal surgery, which can improve surgical outcomes. Participants in the experiment group of the 40-patient trial will be given a Fitbit Zip and a step goal that will gradually increase each day leading up to their surgery.