Make note of the date: November 14, 2019 marked a revolution in women’s health. Tech giant Apple launched three longitudinal, multi-year studies in its new Research app that are aimed specifically at women. These landmark health studies are open to women who use Apple Watch and/or an iPhone. Participants will contribute to data that could lead to potentially groundbreaking discoveries.
There are three studies at this time: the Apple Heart and Movement Study, The Apple Women’s Health Study and the Apple Hearing Study. The three health studies will capture useful data generated by women as they undertake their typical daily activities. Everything from attending a meeting to taking a walk returns data about the noise levels, movement, heart rate and more.
The three studies, the parameters that are being studied and what about women’s health might be learned are summarized below.
A varied range of factors can affect both a woman’s current health and her health in the future. Specifically, this study focuses on issues that can point to a reduction in overall mobility, well being and heart health.
Women can record their workouts on an Apple Watch Series 1 (or later) or by using the Research app on their iPhone. Researchers hope to better understand heart disease, details about heart rhythm and heart rate, declining mobility, early warning signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and more. This study is conducted by Apple, Brigham and Women’s and the American Heart Association (AHA).
This is a first-of-its-kind long-term study. It will attempt to better understand women’s menstrual cycles and their relationship to women’s health. The Apple Women’s Health Study is being conducted in partnership with both the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Using Apple Watch and iPhone, the study will collect data to track a woman’s menstrual cycles. There will also be monthly surveys to better understand each woman’s unique experiences. Hopefully, this approach increases the understanding of women’s menstrual cycles as well as their relationship to health conditions such as infertility, menopausal transition, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and osteoporosis.
Hearing health and the stress levels associated with being exposed to loud sounds is still poorly understood. Using the Noise app on Apple Watch, as well as environmental sound exposure and headphone usage collected through iPhone, this data will be evaluated to learn how both can affect hearing over the long-term. This study aims to discover how long-term sound exposure can also impact cardiovascular health and stress levels. The study is being conducted with Apple and the University of Michigan.
Women will be assigned to two groups randomly. This will help determine if receiving Health app notifications will encourage them to modify their behaviors. These notifications will only be generated when loud sounds are detected. Make Listening Safe, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) will also benefit from the data generated by this study. With the goal of reducing hearing loss, the WHO’s initiative focuses on increasing awareness of safe listening practices.
There is much the world can learn from women over the age of 50, and Apple’s new studies are one way for it to do so. Participating has many benefits, like being more aware of environmental hazards such as loud noises. It could also lead to better solutions for the menopausal transition, osteoporosis and much more.
Women, too, can learn more about menopause — a subject still not well understood in spite of it affecting more than half the country’s population. It also hasn’t been studied very often which underscores the significance of these ground-breaking studies. This large and diverse study can bring much clarity to it as well as its effects on women’s lives as they age.
If you’re interested in participating, enrolling is easy to do by downloading the Apple Research app. You can enroll in all three studies or choose the one(s) that interest you the most.