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June 08, 2015

Local researchers using Apple Watch in breast cancer study

Two local health care groups are making use of the new Apple Watch technology for a study, Newsworks reports.

Researchers at Polaris Health Directions and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden will use the wearable technology to study health outcomes in breast cancer patients. They are the first to do so.

Thirty women in various stages of breast cancer treatment will wear the watch during the nine-month study. The watch's built-in sensors will track the patient's heart rate and physical activity. A custom-made app will ask questions about mood and pain levels.

The study will rely on the subjects feeling comfortable using the Apple Watch, according to Scott Johnson, the Polaris developer in charge of building the app.

"Some of the challenges we have yet to see [are], what's the uptake of this technology from the patients themselves?" Johnson told Newsworks. "And how frictionless can we make the experience to make it enjoyable for them and yet also get useful data and information and have an impact beyond just the technology demo?"

Use of the Apple Watch will increase the frequency of communication between doctors and patients, as well as allow breast cancer patients to communicate as part of a virtual support group.

Read more from Newsworks.

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