Our health is important. People that are already in good shape tend to want to stay that way, while people in less-than-ideal shape generally at least would like to be in better shape. An important metric used by nearly every health professional in the world is blood pressure. Blood pressure is honestly a pretty erratic metric though. The reading can vary based on who is taking the reading, and reading can change nearly instantly in some instances. The team at MOCACARE have been experimenting with a new metric, which while similar to blood pressure is slightly different. In this review of the MOCAheart by MOCACARE, I’ll talk about what blood velocity means when it comes to your health.
- Measurement of Heart Rate (HR), Blood Oxygen Level (SpO2) and MOCA Index (MI)
- Dedicated iOS and Android MOCAheart app
- Displays history and trend views, and automatically records environmental factors such as weather and location
- Provides ability to add notes to each reading and send results via in-app messaging service
- Supports iOS 8 HealthKit
- Materials: Medical-grade stainless steel and biocompatible plastic
- Sensors: Optical sensor and electrode
- Battery life: 3 days (3~5 times use per day)
- Battery recharge: 40-60 min by micro USB
- Dimension: 1 3/8” x 2 3/4” x 1/4” (35 x 70 x 6.35 mm)
- Weight: est. 0.7 oz~ 1 oz (20~30g)
- Accessories: MOCA leather keychain, MOCA phone case (currently for iPhone 6 only, Android cases coming soon)
What’s in the Box
- 1 x MOCAheart
- 1 x Micro-USB charging cable
- 1 x Welcome card
- 1 x User guide
The MOCAheart is an oval, approximately 1 ½” by 2 ¾”. It is very thin, at around one quarter inch thick. The entire device is very small and light, and can easily be slipped into a pocket. It’s actually small enough that an iPhone case is available that fits the MOCAheart easily on the back of the phone. A leather keychain holder is also available if you’d prefer to keep your MOCAheart with you that way. Otherwise it can just as easily sit on a monitor stand, or even on the edge of a keyboard very easily.
The front of the MOCAheart is made of surgical grade stainless steel. On the front you’ll find the power button at the top, along with a circular indentation with the scanning hardware underneath. That is where you’ll place your left thumb, while your right thumb will rest on the flat right side of the device. The back of the device is plastic, with the MOCAheart branding as well as the FCC labelling and whatnot. The bottom edge of the device has a Micro-USB port for charging as well as a charging indicator LED.
The MOCAheart connects to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth and the MOCAheart app. The app lets you enter some general information such as height, weight, gender, drinking/smoking preference, and date of birth. You can also use a series of checkboxes to note some of your medical history including allergies, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, or others.
The general setting page has a few idiosyncrasies that I found during my testing. First of all, according to the MOCAheart app I am a female non-drinker. Neither of those statements are true. I’ve switched the gender to male and the drinking section to “yes” multiple times, and it just keeps changing back. None of the other settings seem to do this. There are a couple more oddities with some of the other data points though. When you’re given more than one option (i.e. yes/no for drinking) you might get the idea that you should tap your answer, but you actually need to swipe on the screen to scroll to the answer that you’re choosing. There isn’t anything that makes it obvious that you would need to do so, but that’s a relatively minor issue. The height entry is also a bit odd. To enter my height of 6’6” I needed to set the app to 6’ 50” which was the equivalent of my height. I verified this by switching to Metric and calculating my height in centimeters. If you’re already using the Metric system you probably won’t have any problems here.
The app also lets you track your recent activity as well as track trends in your readings. You can also add contacts which allows you to send your readings to friends, family, or even your doctor if they allow that kind of interaction. I mentioned that to my doctor, and it will depend largely on your own situation whether or not they will allow that sort of interaction. In my instance, my doctor’s office would not accept those results since they do not come through secured channels. Completely understandable. Your mileage may vary in that regard.
The Scan page will wait for you to turn on the MOCAheart and prompt you to place your thumbs on the device once it’s ready to go. While your MOCAheart is turned on, you’ll see a notification icon on Android, and from within the app you can check the battery level on the device.
When you’re ready to scan, you’ll place your thumbs on the MOCAheart device, and the app will tell you whether or not there’s a good connection.
Ease of Use
Honestly, using the MOCAheart is exceptionally easy. After connecting to your phone via Bluetooth, you really just need to open the app, turn on the device, and place your thumbs lightly onto the appropriate areas. You don’t want to squeeze it too hard otherwise you could skew your readings or possibly damage the device. You really don’t need to apply any pressure at all. Each scan takes roughly fifteen to twenty seconds to run, and you’ll just need to sit still while the scan is running.
After each scan runs, you’ll be presented with your heart rate, blood oxygen level, and MOCA index. The MOCA index is based on your blood velocity, which is a reading similar to blood pressure. MOCA describes blood velocity in the following manner:
Generally, the faster blood travels through blood vessels, the more pressure the heart is under. Because systolic and diastolic blood pressure figures can be hard for everyday users to understand and remember, the MOCA INDEX is an easy way to understand the current state of your cardiovascular health.
The MOCA index is broken down into five levels, numbered 1 – 5 which roughly equate to:
1 – Low – but not likely any cause for concern
2 – Ideal
3 – Raised – normal, but elevated
4 – High – consider seeing your doctor
5 – Very High – seek medical assistance immediately
I had an opportunity to speak with my doctor about MOCAheart, and the idea of blood velocity versus blood pressure. It was not a metric that he was familiar with, which makes sense since it’s a bit of a newcomer, but he was interested in seeing how the device worked, and what it was reading. It was a bit unusual having my MOCA index read as a 2 (ideal) after having my blood pressure reading at what would have likely been a 3 or 4 just minutes before. But as I mentioned previously, blood velocity is similar and somewhat related, but still different than blood pressure.
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t speak to the science or research behind the MOCA index or blood velocity, but I can say that the MOCAheart does perform as advertised. The readings are quick, and I definitely had an idea if my reading was going to be higher or lower (as I usually can tell with blood pressure), and could even manage to tweak my own reading slightly by moving around, or holding my breath during the reading. So the device does work, and I’ll absolutely be interested to hear and learn more about blood velocity as an effective metric for health and fitness.
MOCA suggests that your MOCAheart will last for around three days per charge based on 3-5 tests per day. Less tests and you will get better battery life. More tests, probably less. No matter what, you should be able to last at least a few days, or even up to a week per charge, and recharging is relatively quick so you won’t be away from your MOCAheart for very long.
Priced at $149 the MOCAheart definitely isn’t cheap. This isn’t the sort of device that would be much of an impulse buy anyway though. If you are looking for a way to more easily track your heart health this is definitely an attractive option. If blood velocity starts to become a recognized metric for heart health this is a small and easy way to track that metric.
Our health is definitely important. If you want a small, attractive device that can easily scan for several important health metrics the MOCAheart is the device for you. If blood velocity pans out to become a viable heart health metric the MOCAheart becomes an even more attractive option.
*We were sent a review sample of MOCAheart for the purposes of this review.
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