Wearable Health Lab

“Using data from commonly available wearable devices we combine population science with personalized medicine to develop new tools for precision health.”

Matthew Smuck, MD


With a particular interest in musculoskeletal and mobility-limiting diseases, we analyze longitudinal and cross-sectional wearable biosensor data to uncover disease specific patterns. Using insights from population science we apply this to gain new insights into disease mechanisms, and to develop tools for precision health. We are particularly interested in. Here are some examples of this work.

Population Science:

Determinants of Physical Activity in America: A First Characterization of Physical Activity Profile using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Smoking Is Associated with Pain in all Body Regions with Greatest Influence on Axial Pain.

Physical Activity Intensity Signatures (PAIS) of Pain: Large-Scale Study Reveals Novel Cut-Points for Accelerometry Analysis in Regional Body Pain.

Disease Mechanisms:

Does physical activity influence the relationship between low back pain and obesity?

Association of Regional Body Pain With Accelerometer-based Physical Activity Measures in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Activity Monitoring with Accelerometry Outperforms Self-Reported and Laboratory Assessments of Function in Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.

Activity Changes Following Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Precision Health:

The spinal stenosis pedometer and nutrition lifestyle intervention (SSPANLI): development and pilot.

A review of activity monitors as a new technology for objectifying function in lumbar spinal stenosis.

Predictors of objectively measured walking capacity in people with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Decompression Normalizes Free-Living Physical Activity Impairment.

Does the presence of the fibronectin-aggrecan complex predict outcomes from lumbar discectomy for disc herniation?



We are a team of researchers with expertise in clinical medicine, exercise physiology, computer science, and biostatistics.


Matthew Smuck, MD - Director

Ming-Chih Kao, PhD, MD

Kara Flavin, MD

Christy Tomkins-Lane, PhD


Agnes Martinez-Ith

Post-Doctoral Fellows & Students

Patricia Zheng, MD

Amir Muaremi, PhD

Justin Norden, M.Phil.

Aman Sinha, M.Phil.

Key Collaborations:

The Mobilize Center, Stanford University

Biodesign for Mobile Health

Andrew Haig, MD

William Haskell



Selected Research Awards

2016                   ISSLS Prize – International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine’s annual award for a single published manuscript.

2015                   Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2015 PM&R Journal Best Original Resarch Award.

2014                   Richard Materson ERF New Investigator Research Award

                             President’s Citation Award – American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

2013                   Outstanding Paper Award for Medical & Interventional Science, The Spine Journal

2012                   Medtronic Best Poster Award – International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine at Spineweek. Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

                             Best Poster Finalist - The CDC’s National Conference on Health Statistics. Washington DC.

Press Coverage

“Could Physical Activity Be a Magic Bullet Against Low Back Pain Among Overweight and Obese Americans?” The Back Letter, 2014 Jan; 29(1): 4-5.

“Astonishingly Simple Change Lowers Back Pain 40% in Obese Patients: 1 Minute (60 Seconds) Lowers Back Pain 40% in Obese Patients” Orthopedics This Week. Nov. 18, 2013.

“Improving spinal care with activity monitors” Spinal News International. Nov. 12, 2013.

“Mild exercise aids heavy patients' back pain” San Francisco Chronicle. Oct. 29, 2013.

 “Exercise Eases Low Back Pain” I Milwakee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today. Oct. 10, 2013.

“Study highlights role of physical activity in the relationship of BMI, low back pain”

“Injuries evolve along with new gadgets.” San Francisco Chronicle, Feb.2, 2010.


The Spine Journal’s 2013 Outstanding Paper Award presentation

Use of mobile technology to solve problems in spine research


Contact Us

Director: Matthew Smuck, MD


Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center

450 Broadway St

Pavilion C, 4th Floor, MC 6342

Redwood City, CA 94063

T: 650-721-7603

F: 650-721-3470