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Apple Deepens Medical Research Commitment Through New App

The tech giant has announced three health studies its U.S. customers can now enroll in through a new research app.

Apple continues to move deeper into healthcare - particularly in the field of medical research. The tech giant has announced three health studies its U.S. customers can now enroll in through a new research app.

The studies include the Apple Women’s Health Study, the Apple Heart and Movement Study, and the Apple Hearing Study. Conducted in partnership with leading academic and research institutions, these multi-year longitudinal studies are available in the new Research app, which can be downloaded today from the App Store.

The Cupertino, CA-based company said now participants can potentially groundbreaking medical discoveries with iPhone and Apple Watch, and help create the next generation of health products.

In a release, Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO said, “Today marks an important moment as we embark on research initiatives that may offer incredible learnings in areas long sought after by the medical community. Participants in the Research app have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact that could lead to new discoveries and help millions lead healthier lives.”

The Apple Women’s Health Study aims to advance the understanding of menstrual cycles and their relationship to various health conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, osteoporosis and menopausal transition. The study will use iPhone and Apple Watch to collect study-specific data like cycle tracking information and use monthly surveys to understand each participant’s unique menstrual experience.

Apple Heart and Movement Study is a broad study of factors that affect heart health and potentially cause deterioration in mobility or overall well-being, in an effort to promote healthy movement and improved cardiovascular health. Users can participate by using the Research app on their iPhone and recording workouts on their Apple Watch Series 1 or later. The study will understand how certain mobility signals and details about heart rate and rhythm could serve as potential early warning signs of atrial fibrillation, heart disease or declining mobility, to build new interventions that could help consumers lead longer, healthier and more active lives.

The Apple Hearing Study will collect headphone usage and environmental sound exposure data through iPhone and the Noise app on Apple Watch, to explore how both can impact hearing over time. Alongside the University of Michigan, the study will also determine how long-term sound exposure can impact stress levels and cardiovascular health. Participants will be randomly assigned to two groups within the study to assess if receiving Health app notifications when loud sound exposure is detected can motivate users to modify their listening behaviors.

During a recent earnings call, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook commented on the company deepening its commitment to medical research, according to a Transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“We are collaborating with leading health institutions to reach more participants than has ever been possible enabling them to contribute to potential medical discoveries and help create the next generation of innovative health products,” Cook said during the earnings call, according to a Transcript from Seeking Alpha. “Leveraging the devices customers use every day and world-class security and privacy, we hope to democratize medical research and bring everyone to the table to make the next big breakthroughs possible.”

Healthcare has been fertile ground for quite some time now. In September of last year, Apple received FDA clearance for an ECG app, a software-only mobile medical application that can classify whether there are signs of AFib.

In June of this year, the company announced a partnership with One Drop, to sell a wireless glucose monitor to select Apple Stores in the U.S. Recently, MD+DI published a report that shows seven key moves that helped Apple become a significant player in healthcare.

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