Apple to monitor Parkinson’s disease

Apple is researching ways to help people with Parkinson's disease between doctor's appointments.

The company is internally researching whether the iPhone and Apple Watch can be used to track the health of people with Parkinson's, three sources reported to Fast Company. Apple declined to comment about the research.

Sources say Apple will track symptoms through passive monitoring, the same technology Apple's Health application, other third-party apps and wearables like Fitbit use for measuring heart rate, sleep cycles, steps taken and calories burned. Sources speculate Apple's Parkinson's research could help prove efficacy of mobile monitoring, studies of which have so far been mixed.

San Francisco Bay Area-based neurologist Diana Blum told Fast Company through sensors embedded in personal electronic devices could help doctors measure people's condition. Passive monitoring could measure the severity of tremors and walking speed track changes, which could indicate whether medication needed to be adjusted between appointments.

Sources say Stephen Friend is overseeing the research. Friend previously worked for Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit that provides tools for biomedical research, and a partner in Apple's ResearchKit, HealthKit and CareKit apps.


Topics: Technology & IT , Wearables