Apple Watch Can Now Detect Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

A new API has found its way into Apple’s ResearchKit framework that can monitor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

This new Movement Disorder API will allow the Apple Watch or iPhone to continuously monitor common symptoms like tremors, which causes shaking and twitching, and dyskinesia, an abnormality that causes involuntary movement. The recorded data would then be collected and presented in a chart that would allow physicians to check the rate and severity of the patient’s symptoms.

Before the Movement Disorder API, Parkinson mPower was Apple’s first foray in Parkinson disease research. Apple’s personal tool and research instrument used questionnaires and sensor data to track and review trends. With the Movement Disorder API, Apple ups the ante by giving researchers more comprehensive data to treat and track symptoms.

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“Since its launch in 2015, the mPower app has enrolled over 10,000 participants, making it the largest Parkinson’s study in history — with 93 percent of participants never having taken part in any kind of research before,” says the official Research and Care Kit webpage.

“The app helps researchers better understand Parkinson’s disease by using the gyroscope and other iPhone features to measure dexterity, balance, gait, and memory. Researchers have gained greater insight into the factors that make symptoms better or worse, such as sleep, exercise, and mood.”

Earlier this week, Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference that it would be opening their Health Records API to developers. According to the press release, Apple intends for researchers to create an ecosystem of apps that use health record data to better manage medications, nutrition plans and diagnosed diseases.

“Medical information may be the most important personal information to a consumer, and offering access to Health Records was the first step in empowering them. Now, with the potential of Health Records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer in the press release.

“With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day.”

With the announcement of the new Movement Disorder API and Health Records, Apple continues to establish their presence in the medical field and paving the way for better health management with their apps by generating reliable data for medical researchers.

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