Biogen Launches Study to Find Out if Apple Watch and iPhone Can Detect Declining Cognitive Health

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Biotechnology company Biogen today announced the launch of a new Apple Watch study in partnership with Apple that is aimed at investigating the role the iPhone and Apple Watch might play in monitoring cognitive performance and screening for decline in cognitive health.

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The multi-year study will launch later this year and will enroll both young and aging adults with a range of cognitive performance. The study’s objectives are to find digital biomarkers for helping to monitor cognitive performance over time and identifying early signs of mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment impacts approximately 15 to 20 percent of adults over the age of 64, and the onset of symptoms are often subtle, so it can take months or even years before health care providers become aware of the problem.

“Working in collaboration with Biogen, we hope this study can help the medical community better understand a person’s cognitive performance by simply having them engage with their Apple Watch and ‌iPhone‌,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We’re looking forward to learning about the impact our technology can have in delivering better health outcomes through improved detection of declining cognitive health.”

The study will be privacy-focused with customer control, transparency, and data security in mind. Participants will be offered a detailed consent form listing the data types collected and how that data may be used and shared. Data is stored encrypted and in systems with strong security controls.

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