Ava announces new feature for cycle-tracking bracelet, clinical study

By Dave Muoio
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San Francisco- and Zurich-based Ava, which makes a bracelet capable of tracking women’s menstrual cycles, has announced an update that will better allow their device to track when, or even if, the wearer has ovulated, according to a statement from the company.

Data collected by the Ava bracelet and companion app will be used to detect biphasic shifts among skin temperature, pulse rate, and other parameters that occur following an increase in progesterone after ovulation. This offers an advantage over other devices that, according to Ava, identify these patterns based only on temperature.

“This is a critical difference, as in some cases, the shift in parameters can’t be seen in temperature, but Ava's algorithm may still recognize it in other parameters related to progesterone,” Lea von Bidder, president and cofounder of Ava, said in a statement.

Ava’s device is primarily billed as a convenient tool for women to understand their fertility window and maximize their chances of conceiving (although it can be used to avoid pregnancy as well). In addition to personal trend analyses to inform users on how their cycle is impacting their health, the system also supports women during pregnancy by tracking sleep, stress, and weight gain.

Although the new feature is designed to help women pin down their ovulation, the company said it could be even more useful to those experiencing anovulatory cycles — those that occur without ovulation.

“Besides wanting to know when the fertile window is, our Ava users typically want to know if they have ovulated at all, and so we believe this new feature meets a critical demand,” von Bidder said.

Ava also announced a newly initiated clinical trial that will be using the bracelet to detect the onset of infection during a wearer’s pregnancy. Conducted at the University Hospital of Zurich and led by Dr. Brigitte Leeners, the investigation will provide 50 women hospitalized with preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) with the devices. The researchers will analyze data collected through the 24-hours between rupture and infection to identify any patterns that could be used to detect infection during pregnancy, according to the company.

“Ideally insights from this research will enable us to develop features for Ava that can provide users with a pregnancy monitoring service that screens for complications and thus significantly improves the chance to identify critical infection situations early on,” Vice President of Research and Development Peter Stein said in a statement. “We see this as yet another step in the direction of developing technology that can truly improve  and possibly even save women’s lives.”

Ava launched its wearable in 2016, and earlier this year announced study results suggesting that the bracelet could detect a new pregnancy. The company backed by $12.3 million in seed and Series A funding.

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