Apple announces three key health studies in United States

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the Apple watch during a new product event Tuesday Sept. 10 2019 in Cupertino Calif

AP Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the Apple watch during a new product event Tuesday Sept. 10 2019 in Cupertino Calif

Apple announced it will conduct three new health studies according to Vice President of Health Sumbul Desai.

What's more, Apple wants its customers, i.e. people who wear Apple Watches, to be the study's participants. The company's rival Fitbit had earlier worked with academic partners on both on women's health and research into hoe patients reach milestones to step and actively recover more speedily from common surgical procedures.

Apple's foray into health isn't new. The study found that the Apple Watch paired with an algorithm created to detect atrial fibrillation performed well among sedentary patients undergoing a medical procedure. That study found that the Apple Watch's ability to detect an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) was accurate 84 percent of the time. Instead, these users are more likely to get a false positive. Apple used the ResearchKit to create the Apple Heart Study. The new Research app will instead allow for a single portal for this sort of opt-in activity.

The third study will evaluate the factors that determine hearing health.

Apple partnered with University of MI to study the factors that impact hearing health. Ambient noise studies usually involve putting sound meters in different locations, so it seems reasonable to infer that location-tracking could also be involved. You may know those as earbuds and AirPods. It will track participants' menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions to help build a digital tool that assesses a person's risk of conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility and osteoporosis as well as pregnancy and transitions to menopause.

For the women's health study, Apple will be partnering with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Data from this study will be shared with the World Health Organization.

In January 2019, Cook said in an interview with CNBC: "If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind, ' it will be about health".

The effort expands on the Apple Heart Study, which was launched in 2017.

Scientific evidence for health tech products is welcome in a field that can and does move much faster than the medical establishment. Still, it's worth remembering that Apple is promoting these studies, and has an undeniable interest in the halo effect of positioning the Apple Watch as a product that's integral to health and wellness. Alphabet has focused on various groups on the medical sector including Verily and Microsoft is building out its team to focus on the areas that range from medical research to artificial intelligence.

Concerns were also raised about whether the Apple Watch would flag people as having heart rate irregularities when those people had nothing wrong with their health, Business Insider reported.

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