Apple Announces Advancements in ResearchKit

Apple today kicked off its highly anticipated iPhone SE and iPad event speaking with announcements about its environmental efforts, quickly followed by the company’s advancements to the open source ResearchKit framework.


As the company pointed out during the media event, the response has been fantastic: “Virtually overnight, many ResearchKit studies became the largest in history and researchers are gaining insights and making discoveries that weren’t possible before,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Medical researchers around the world continue to use iPhone to transform what we know about complex diseases, and with continued support from the open source community, the opportunities for iPhone in medical research are endless.”

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ResearchKit studies incorporate genetic data:

• Postpartum Depression: PPD Act is a new app-based study that will use genetic testing to better understand why some women are impacted by postpartum depression by examining the genetic makeup of those with the condition. Led by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the international Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment Consortium, PPD Act will offer study participants access to a “spit kit” from the National Institutes of Mental Health.
• Cardiovascular Disease: Developed by Stanford Medicine, the MyHeart Counts app will use genetic data from existing 23andMe customers to help determine predisposition to heart conditions and measure how a participant’s activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. By studying these relationships on a broad scale, researchers hope to be able to better understand how to keep hearts healthy.
• Asthma: The Asthma Health app, designed to track symptom patterns in an individual and identify potential triggers for these symptoms, will use genetic data from 23andMe customers to help researchers better understand ways to personalize asthma treatment. Asthma Health is designed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and LifeMap Solutions.

ResearchKit apps turn the iPhone into a medical research tool, helping doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data quickly and more accurately from participants anywhere in the world.

Apple states researchers are continuing to adapt ResearchKit, building new models that bring exam room medical tests to iPhone apps. ResearchKit studies are available in Australia, Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the US.