November 14, 2019
Computing giant Apple has spent the last few years dipping its toes into the arena of health and wellness research, including putting an electrocardiogram in its Apple Watch devices and conducting a heart health study centered around atrial fibrillation.
This week, Apple released a new app for iPhones called "Apple Research", which allows users to opt-in for its next three health-related studies: a menstrual cycle study, a heart health study, and a hearing study. The app is currently live in the App Store, and is available for free download for all users running iOS 13.2.
The company announced all three studies back in September, when it released the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, along with the fifth generation Apple Watch device.
Here's a refresher on the three studies:
"Apple Women’s Health Study: In partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Apple has created the first long-term study of this scale focused on menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions. This study will inform screening and risk assessment of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis, pregnancy and menopausal transition.
"Apple Heart and Movement Study: Apple is partnering with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association on a comprehensive study of how heart rate and mobility signals — like walking pace and flights of stairs climbed — relate to hospitalizations, falls, heart health and quality of life in order to promote healthy movement and improved cardiovascular health.
"Apple Hearing Study: Alongside the University of Michigan, Apple is examining factors that impact hearing health. The Apple Hearing Health Study is the first of its kind to collect data over time in order to understand how everyday sound exposure can impact hearing. The study data will also be shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a contribution toward its Make Listening Safe initiative."
Users provide their express consent to participate in the studies, according to the Apple Research description in the App Store, and can opt out of the studies at any time. Users are also in charge how much information to provide Apple, and which study they would like to participate in. Apple also says that users' data will not be sold.