Apple Announces Advancements to ResearchKit [Video] 

Apple Announces Advancements to ResearchKit [Video] 

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Apple today announced advancements to the ResearchKit framework that bring genetic data and medical tests that are typically conducted in an exam room to iPhone apps. Researchers are adopting these new features to help build studies for diseases and conditions in an effort to gather more specific types of data from research participants.

“The response to ResearchKit has been fantastic. Virtually overnight, many ResearchKit studies became the largest in history and researchers are gaining insights and making discoveries that weren’t possible before,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Medical researchers around the world continue to use iPhone to transform what we know about complex diseases, and with continued support from the open source community, the opportunities for iPhone in medical research are endless.”

Apple Announces Advancements to ResearchKit [Video] 

ResearchKit helps doctors, scientists, and other researchers gather data more frequently for medical research by enabling those with an iPhone to participate anywhere in the world. Participants enrolled in these app-based studies can complete tasks or submit survey responses to help contribute to medical research.

Since ResearchKit is open source, developers can quickly design a research study for iPhone. Developers can also choose to expand on the current available software code and contribute tasks back to the community to help other researchers do more with the framework. With today's ResearchKit advancements, researchers are now able to incorporate genetic data into their studies in simple, cost effective manner. Researchers are also working with the National Institute of Mental Health to deliver “spit kits” to study participants based on a series of survey results.

“There’s so much we still need to learn about postpartum depression and it may be DNA that provides the key to better understanding why some women experience symptoms and others do not,” said Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH, director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at the UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders. “With ResearchKit, and now the ability to incorporate genetic data, we’re able to engage women with postpartum depression from a wide geographic and demographic range and can analyze the genomic signature of postpartum depression to help us find more effective treatments.”

“Collecting this type of information will help researchers determine genomic indicators for specific diseases and conditions,” said Eric Schadt, PhD, the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Founding Director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. “Take asthma, for example. ResearchKit is allowing us to study this population more broadly than ever before and through the large amounts of data we’re able to gather from iPhone, we’re understanding how factors like environment, geography and genes influence one’s disease and response to treatment.”

Apple also announced a new CareKit framework at its event, alongside the new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

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