Apple ResearchKit keeps picking up speed

By Jeff Rowe
10:31 AM
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Prominent medical institutions rolled out new studies using the tech giant's app.

Among the projects is an autism study from Duke University that will look "at the application of a video analysis technology to quantify and analyze the emotions of children so that one day parents may be able to use it as a screening tool for conditions like autism, anxiety, and other behavior related conditions.

Another study is from Johns Hopkins University, which will use the Apple Watch "to collect sensor data that may help to track and sense (epileptic) seizures. For those seizures where movement is an indication, the watch's accelerometer and gyroscope can help track them. For seizures that don't involve movement or convulsions, the person's heart rate still changes."

Still another new study is from Oregon Health and Sciences University, where researchers have developed a study called Mole Mapper, which uses a ResearchKit app to help users keep track of potentially dangerous moles by "having them take photos of them with their phone, assigning them to a region of the body and auto-generating a funny name for them, like Moley Cyrus. For moles the user is concerned about, the app encourages them to take a photo with a dime, which allows the app to determine the size of the mole and if it is changing over time."

All of these studies, suggested Bud Tribble, MD, vice president of software technology at Apple, are in keeping with what the company originally had in mind. "One way to think about ResearchKit is as the beginning of a pipeline that will lead to more apps that are screening, diagnostic, management and treatment apps,"  he said in an article on sister site MobiHealthNews.