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Using Wearable Skin Temperature Data to Advance Tracking and Characterization of the Menstrual Cycle in a Real-World Setting.

The menstrual cycle is a loop involving the interplay of different organs and hormones, with the capacity to impact numerous physiological processes, including body temperature and heart rate, which in turn display menstrual rhythms. The advent of wearable devices that can continuously track physiological data opens the possibility of using these prolonged time series of skin temperature data to noninvasively detect the temperature variations that occur in ovulatory menstrual cycles. Here, we show that the menstrual skin temperature variation is better represented by a model of oscillation, the cosinor, than by a biphasic square wave model. We describe how applying a cosinor model to a menstrual cycle of distal skin temperature data can be used to assess whether the data oscillate or not, and in cases of oscillation, rhythm metrics for the cycle, including mesor, amplitude, and acrophase, can be obtained. We apply the method to wearable temperature data collected at a minute resolution each day from 120 female individuals over a menstrual cycle to illustrate how the method can be used to derive and present menstrual cycle characteristics, which can be used in other analyses examining indicators of female health. The cosinor method, frequently used in circadian rhythms studies, can be employed in research to facilitate the assessment of menstrual cycle effects on physiological parameters, and in clinical settings to use the characteristics of the menstrual cycles as health markers or to facilitate menstrual chronotherapy.

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