What 1,000 Apple Watches can buy

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The Watch’s heart and motion sensors give new meaning to first-mover advantage.


From Engadget’s Apple donates 1,000 watches to eating disorder study:

The use of Apple Watches in medical studies now includes research into eating disorders. Apple is donating 1,000 smartwatches to a University of North Carolina study (the Binge Eating Genetics Initiative, or BEGIN) that will help understand bulimia nervosa patients and others with binge eating behavior. The wristwear will track heart rates over a month-long period to see if there are any spikes ahead of binging incidents. If there are, it might be possible to alert caregivers and patients before these acts take place.

The devices are just one part of the study. Participants will also receive at-home gene [spit] and microbiome [poop] sample kits from UBiome that will help find any common genetic traits. They’ll also have to spend about 10 minutes per day logging their diets, goals and moods in a mobile journaling app, Recovery Record.

My take: Steve Jobs gave schools free Apple IIs. Tim Cook gives research scientists free watches.

Below: A partial list of apps using Apple’s ResearchKit. (Doesn’t include the latest, a study of 10,000 joint replacement candidates.)

apple watch research

  • Parkinson’s: mPower. The app helps researchers better understand Parkinson’s disease by using the gyroscope and other iPhone features to measure dexterity, balance, gait, and memory.
  • Autism: Autism & Beyond. Uses the front-facing HD camera in iPhone, along with innovative facial recognition algorithms, to analyze emotional reactions to videos in children as young as 18 months.
  • Seizures: EpiWatch. Participants sensing an impending seizure launch the app by tapping a custom complication on Apple Watch. The accelerometer and heart rate sensors are triggered, and an alert is automatically sent to a designated family member or caregiver.
  • Concussion: Concussion Tracker. By tracking heart rate patterns and recording physical and cognitive function, researchers aim to better understand the long-term health consequences of concussions.
  • Melanoma: Mole Mapper. By collecting images from tens of thousands of participants, researchers hope to create an algorithm that can screen for melanomas in their earliest stages.
  • Postpartum Depression. PPD ACT. It’s the first app to use iPhone to enable consent for a DNA sample collection, making the process much easier than before. After opting in, participants are sent a mail-in kit that’s simple to use and send back.
  • Sleep Health: SleepHealth. To identify connections between sleep habits and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, COPD, and depression, the SleepHealth app tests daytime alertness and measures the data against self-reported sleep patterns and sleep quality.
  • LGBTQ: Pride Study. First long-term health study of LGBTQ population.
  • Cardiovascular Health: MyHeart Counts and VascTrac. Record and track physical activity, calculate risk from blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Pregnancy: EPV. Understanding normal and abnormal placental growth.

As of Nov. 2017, according to Apple, Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit platforms had been used by over 500 researchers and more than three million participants.