Apple announced yesterday that it will launch three new clinical studies based on Watch in collaboration with leading health and academic organizations, including the WHO, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and others.
The new studies will collect data on participants’ sound exposure, menstrual cycles, heart rate and physical activity. Each study will be open to U.S. Apple Watch owners, who can sign up through a new Apple Research App that the company said will be available for download by the end of the year.
Apple Women’s Health Study is a long-term analysis of menstrual cycles, using the women’s fertility monitoring feature recently introduced in Apple Watch. The study will be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Harvard. Apple hopes that these data will strengthen screening and risk assessment practices for gynaecological conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or osteoporosis.
“Women make up half of the world’s population, yet even today there has been limited investment in studying their unique health needs,” said Michelle A. Williams, Dean of the Faculty of Harvard T.H. Chan School, in a statement. “This study, unprecedented in scope, will greatly advance our understanding of the biological and social determinants of women’s health, and lead to better health outcomes“.
The Apple Hearing Study will be conducted similarly alongside researchers at the University of Michigan to monitor the sound levels that people wearing Apple Watch encounter during their daily routines, and how this exposure could affect their hearing health. According to Apple, the data from this study will be shared with the WHO.
“With over a billion young people who could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening, WHO is addressing this challenge through raising awareness and setting new standards for safe listening” said in a statement Dr. Shelly Chadha, technical director of hearing loss and deafness prevention at the WHO. “The knowledge gained through this study will contribute to future public health actions in this field“.
Finally, the Apple Heart and Movement Study will follow the path of Apple’s previous cardiovascular surveys, studying how heart rate and activity are related to hospital admissions, severe falls, general heart health and quality of life. This study will be conducted in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association.
“We are excited to be working with all the study participants and with Apple to identify the features of complex human physiology that lead to different outcomes in wellness or chronic disease, and to use this information to empower individuals to maximize their own health“, said in a statement Calum MacRae, Vice President of scientific innovation for the Department of medicine of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Apple pointed out during his presentation that it will not be able to associate the data collected during the studies to the identity of the people, thus protecting privacy.
“We’re really excited about the impact that the research app can have,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “It gives all of us an amazing opportunity to participate in health research that could lead to innovations to improve our health and the health of future generations. So I hope you check it out“.
The study news was accompanied by revelations about the company’s latest devices, including the Watch Series 5 series. Among the new features, in addition to a new software for visualization and monitoring of health always active, already revealed during the summer, the new Watch have a new function of international emergency call that will contact the emergency services in case of fall and inactivity. The call is made automatically and takes place regardless of the user’s country of purchase or whether the user has activated a cellular plan.