Apple Will Study Health, Not Just Monitor It

Screen Shot 2019 09 10

Screen Shot 2019 09 10

Apple has announced it is undertaking "three groundbreaking health studies", which were touched upon during September 10's Special Event in Cupertino, CA. The three have collaborated to create what Apple is billing as the "first long-term study of this scale focused on menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions". For this study, Apple partnered with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

This will be an important opportunity for Apple to make strides in health across the map, whether it's for women, those suffering from heart disease, or hearing issues.

The Apple Heart and Movement Study, with the American Heart Association and Brigham and Women's Hospital, will aim to link digital biomarkers such as walking pace and flights of stairs climbed with hospitalizations, falls, heart health and overall quality of life. The Apple Hearing Health Study is the first of its kind to collect data over time in order to understand the ways in which everyday sound exposure can impact hearing. Data from Apple's devices, ranging from how a person moves to how loud it is around them, will be used in the new studies. The data from the Research app will be shared to the World Health Organization's Make Listening Safe initiative.

Apple Hearing Study: Alongside the University of Michigan, Apple is examining factors that impact hearing health. "I'm excited to participate in a study of this scale and scope to fill the existing gap with the data and to look at areas of need, preventive measures, advancing health and moving forward possibly even with therapeutics".

Apple is launching a women's health study, a heart and movement study, and a hearing study in partnership with academic and medical institutions.

Apple has been focused on developing new technology related to health for some time. The videos were of various grateful users who praised the Apple Watch for one reason or another - one person fell and the Watch immediately called a close one to check up on them; one person had an irregular heart rhythm and the Watch warned them that they should see the doc; other people were impressed with how successful the Health Rings are at pushing them to improve their fitness every day. As the Apple Heart Study demonstrates, not conflating the fact that Apple simply did a study, with what the study actually proved, will be crucial in evaluating the importance of the research and of the Apple Watch in the future.

While the announcement repeated the fact that these studies would be large-scale, there was no estimate available about the number of people that may participate.

The Apple Watch received FDA clearance a year ago for its electrocardiogram feature, officially classifying it as a medical device capable of alerting its user to abnormal heart rhythms. CEO Tim Cook has talked about health being Apple's legacy.

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