Health & Wellness

New App Will Feed Users’ Data to Health Researchers

Apple Watch and iPhone users can now be part of major health research studies

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/Wachiwit.

You may one day be able to take part in one of three major health studies via your Apple Watch or iPhone. Apple released its new Apple Research application on Nov. 14. Available for free through the Apple Store, the app will provide information to the researchers behind three health studies—the Apple Women’s Health Study, the Apple Heart and Movement Study, and the Apple Hearing Study. Only US users can take part for now.

Conducted in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the US National Institutes of Health, the Women’s Health Study will focus on the menstrual cycle and its relation to health conditions such as infertility, osteoporosis, menopause transition, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Information on women’s cycles will be collected through both the iPhone and the Apple Watch. (Users will need an Apple Watch to participate in the other two studies.)

The Apple Heart and Movement Study seeks to understand mobility and its impact on cardiovascular health. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association will look at how certain heart rate and rhythm data can provide early warning of heart disease, deteriorating mobility, and atrial fibrillation.

The Apple Hearing Study aims to decipher the link between sound and hearing and mental health, particularly how sound exposure can impact hearing and stress levels over time. For this study, Apple is teaming up with the University of Michigan and will provide results to the World Health Organization to raise awareness.

Apple promises users that their data won’t be sold, and won’t be shared without their consent, and those using the app will be able to select what information they’d like to share for the studies. Users can stop sharing at any time.