The Apple Watch is now able to detect Parkinson's disease symptoms, further pushing the smartwatch's status as a health-focused device.

The new Apple Watch function was made possible through the new Movement Disorder API, which Apple added to the open-source ResearchKit framework at the ongoing WWDC 2018.

Apple Watch To Monitor Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

The Movement Disorder API that Apple is adding to ResearchKit will allow the Apple Watch to trace and monitor the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Developers will be able to use the new API to include passive, always-on monitoring of the symptoms through an Apple Watch running watchOS 5. The API will be monitoring two very common Parkinson's disease symptoms. Tremors, or shaking and quivering, and dyskinesia, or fidgeting and swaying motions usually caused by treatment for Parkinson's disease, will be picked up by the Apple Watch.

Currently, doctors seeking information about the severity of Parkinson's disease symptoms in a patient will need to perform physical diagnostic tests. Patients are also required to keep written diaries to record the manifestation of the symptoms. However, despite all this, doctors will still not be able to get the complete pictures of a patient's symptoms.

With the Apple Watch and the Movement Disorder API, however, keeping track of the symptoms will be done automatically and continuously, with nothing required from patients aside from wearing the Apple Watch. Apps will then be able to display the collected data in graphs, showing how often the symptoms manifest per day, hour, and minute, for the usage of doctors in monitoring Parkinson's disease.

Apple Watch Saves Lives

There have been numerous reports on how the Apple Watch saves lives. In May alone, there were three reports of such incidents.

The Apple Watch helped diagnose a teenager from Florida who was suffering from chronic kidney disease, which was hidden for years. The device also urged a man in New York to seek immediate medical attention, and it was later discovered that he had a ruptured ulcer. Another man in England, meanwhile, was just reading a book when the Apple Watch said that his heart rate was going up, alerting him to an undiagnosed heart problem.

At WWDC 2018, Apple announced watchOS 5, the latest version of the wearable operating system that powers the Apple Watch. Apple will roll out watchOS 5 in the fall, bringing with it several new features beyond the updated ResearchKit such as a walkie-talkie mode, new audio feature, updated Siri commands, and improved message notifications.

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