Apple has invested heavily in using its technology for medical purposes. The device currently has a native sleep tracker for iOS that works in conjunction with the sensors of the Apple Watch. It also partnered with AliveCor to build a watch strap that would allow the watch to record a medical electrocardiogram, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration a few years ago.
Apple now believes the iPhone can help diagnose mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. Apple researchers are studying how analysis of data, such as sleep patterns, mobility and rhythm typing, can detect early signs of mental dysfunction before the condition worsens.
Sources close to the Wall Street Journal say the iPhone will likely determine conditions accurately using a combination of sensor data and machine learning algorithms. The Apple Watch is now notorious for detecting arrhythmias, and it's not unreasonable to assume that cases with obvious symptoms can be resolved by another device that people always carry with them.
Other possible parameters that researchers consider are facial expressions, heart rate and breathing. All data is collected and analyzed on the device without being sent to Apple's servers. Apple has partnered with the University of California, Los Angeles, on a project called "Seabreeze" to study conditions involving depression. Stress and Anxiety A pilot study began in 2020 with 150 volunteers and will expand to 3,000 participants this year.
Researchers have partnered with pharmaceutical company Biogen to study cognitive disorders. This two-year study is codenamed "B". Biogen's report is said to have begun over the summer on Monday after approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The company hopes to identify early warning signs of Alzheimer's syndrome. It targets 20,000 participants, half of whom are high-risk individuals.
This investigation is still in its early stages, so it will likely take some time for anything to be officially announced. Apple, UCLA and Biogen all declined to comment.
Apple is said to be looking at ways for the iPhone to monitor common mental health conditions, including depression