Apple launches Research: an app for three new longitudinal studies



As of this morning, iOS users can officially download the new Search application and register for one or more of the three studies the company announced at its WWDC event in September.

Inspired by the Apple Heart study Conducted last year in collaboration with Stanford, these three studies, focusing respectively on heart health and movement, hearing loss and women’s health, are being carried out with prestigious partners. Like the Heart Study, this research has a dual purpose: it will serve to improve public health, by collecting data on an unprecedented scale, and it will help Apple improve its products.

While the Apple Heart Study lasted about a year, all three of these new studies have longer – in some cases much longer – timelines. The shorter one, the hearing study, will last two years, while the longer one, the women’s health study, will last a decade, maybe more.

All studies were submitted and approved by institutional review boards, and the application includes an informed consent form for each study. California residents will also see an additional document due to the state’s stricter privacy laws. Finally, one of the three studies (the Heart and Movement study) is conducted in collaboration with a hospital, so it includes a HIPAA authorization form.

In addition to filling out consent forms, users who settle into the app will also have the option to agree to each type of data the app wants to collect, giving them full control over the data shared with the team. study.

For each study, certain data are compulsory; if the user tries to refuse to share this data, they will be prompted to change their mind or exit the application and refuse to register.

After that, applications will collect data through a combination of passive detection and active testing, depending on the study. Read on for the quick facts on the three studies launched this morning.

The Apple Women’s Health Study

WHAT: Apple has come a long way since its flagrant omission to follow rules the first generation of the Apple HealthKit app. In this 10-plus-year study, participants will track their menstrual cycles (using the Apple app or a third-party app) as well as other health data and participate in monthly surveys. Researchers hope to discover links between menstruation and conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis and menopausal transition.

WHO: Apple is teaming up with the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct this study. During the duration of the study, Apple hopes to recruit a million women.

ON THE FILE: “Women make up half of the world’s population, but even today there has been limited investment in studying their unique health needs,” said Michelle A. Williams, reproductive epidemiologist and dean of Harvard TH Chan School faculty, in a statement. . “This unprecedented scale study will greatly advance our understanding of the biological and social determinants of women’s health and lead to better health outcomes.

The Apple Heart and Movement Study

WHAT: The most direct follow-up of Apple’s 400,000-person heart study conducted with Stanford, this study will look at heart rate and rhythm data collected through a user’s Apple Watch, as well as movement data and training collected on the watch and the phone. Researchers will study how factors that affect heart health relate to deteriorating mobility or overall health, with the ultimate goal of developing more and better prevention tools.

WHO: Apple called on the American Heart Association and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as partners in this study. Their goal is to register 500,000 participants over five years.

ON THE FILE: “We are excited to work with all study participants and with Apple to identify features of complex human physiology that lead to different wellness or chronic disease outcomes, and to use this information to enable for individuals to maximize their own health, ”Calum MacRae, vice president of scientific innovation for the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement earlier this year.

Apple hearing study

WHAT: Apple will collect interesting data for this study on the effects of long-term noise exposure. It will record passive data about how often participants use their headphones and at what volume, and it will use the new Noise app on the Apple Watch to collect environmental sound data. Researchers hope to study the effects of these factors on stress levels and cardiovascular health.

This study has a randomized design: half of the participants will receive notifications when exposure to loud sound is detected, in order to study whether this is an effective motivation to change behavior.

WHO: Apple’s partner on this project is the University of Michigan. Additionally, the data will be shared with the World Health Organization’s Make Listening Safe initiative.

ON THE FILE: “With over a billion young people who could be at risk of hearing loss from unsafe listening, WHO is responding to this challenge by raising awareness and setting new standards for safe listening,” Dr Shelly Chadha, technical manager for the prevention of deafness and hearing. loss to WHO, said in a statement earlier this year. “The knowledge acquired through this study will contribute to future public health actions in this area. “



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