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Apple researching methods to monitor Parkinson's disease with Apple Watch and iPhone

In a potential expansion to its current health and wellness offerings, headlined by ResearchKit and HealthKit, Apple is reportedly investigating the viability of employing Apple Watch and iPhone in real-time monitoring of patients with Parkinson's disease.




According to sources speaking to Fast Company, Apple's internal project seeks to determine whether Apple Watch and iPhone can be used to passively monitor Parkinson's symptoms. Such data could be used to better facilitate medicine management, especially for Parkinson's patients who often go months between seeing their physician.

While the project is ongoing, Apple hopes to build a portfolio of research proving the efficacy of mobile monitoring, the report said.

The initiative is being managed by Dr. Stephen Friend, cofounder of biomedical research company and early ResearchKit partner Sage Bionetworks. Before taking a post on Apple's health team in June, Friend previously served as a medical technology advisor to the Cupertino tech giant.

Friend is well versed in Parkinson's monitoring and treatment. In 2015, Sage Bionetworks teamed up with the University of Rochester to build the framework of a Parkinson's study, one of the first ResearchKit projects to debut last year. The company also worked on a breast cancer study alongside Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Penn Medicine.