Technology

Apple continues health push with three new medical studies

  • Three new studies, available on the Research app later this fall, will explore new areas of medical research. Apple
  • The Apple Hearing Study will collect information to make sense of how exposure to sound over time can affect hearing. Apple
  • The Apple Heart and Movement Study will look into the connection of heart health and mobility signals, like walking pace. Apple
  • The Apple Womens Health Study will explore gynecological conditions. Apple

Apple announced three new health studies Tuesday that will address issues of hearing, heart health, and women's health as it relates to menstrual cycles and reproduction.

The studies are part of a continued push by the company to make waves in the health and medical realm. In a January interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he expected the company's health-related work to become its lasting legacy and "greatest contribution to mankind."

"Our business has always been about enriching people's lives," he explained.

Apple has unveiled a variety of health-related apps and features recently. In 2016, for instance, the industry giant unveiled CareKit, a software framework for developing healthcare apps. In November 2017, the company started the Apple Heart study, which looked at whether the pulse sensor on older Apple Watches (Series 1, 2, and 3) could help detect irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation. With the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple unveiled a full electrocardiograph feature to help monitor heart activity.

For the new studies, Apple is teaming up with high-profile research partners to correlate gadget-collected health data with a variety of health outcomes.

Everyday sounds and motion

For the hearing study, Apple is working with researchers at the University of Michigan to help understand how everyday sounds and noise relate to hearing loss. Researchers will survey Apple users' sound exposures throughout their days via Apple devices.

"This unique dataset will allow us to create something the United States has never had—national-level estimates of exposures to music and environmental sound," University of Michigan researcher Rick Neitzel said in a statement. Neitzel, an associate professor of environmental health sciences and global public health, will lead the hearing study. "Collectively, this information will help give us a clearer picture of hearing health in America and will increase our knowledge about the impacts of our daily exposures to music and noise," he added.

The hearing data will also be shared with the World Health Organization.

In the heart and movement study, Apple has partnered with Brigham and Women's Hospital and the American Heart Association to sort through a variety of data collected from customers. Researchers will try to make sense of mobility data (such as walking speed and daily stair climbs) and how it relates to outcomes such as hospitalizations, falls, and cardiovascular health.

"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," Calum MacRae said in a statement. MacRae is the vice chair of Scientific Innovation for the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Vital signs

Lastly, Apple is working with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for a study on woRead More – Source

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