Researchers of a new study are looking at Apple Watch and iPhone data to determine whether the devices can help detect early signs of dementia. Apple is teaming up with health-tech startup Evidation and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to find ways of using popular gadgets to detect cognitive impairments.

Gadget Data On Cognitive Decline

For the 12-week study conducted by researchers from Apple, Eli Lilly, and Evidation, all the participants were given three gadgets: an Apple Watch, an iPhone, and a Beddit sleep Tracker. Eighty-two of the participants were in the healthy control group while 31 were in varying stages of dementia and cognitive decline, and they were all tasked to avoid taking medications that could possibly impact the results.

Interestingly, researchers found that the participants with signs of cognitive decline typed less regularly, slower, and also sent fewer text messages compared to the participants in the healthy control group. What’s more, they were also found to be less inclined to participate in surveys and were more reliant on support apps.

That said, researchers did not reach long-term conclusions, and more analysis is needed.

Apple On Health

This is so far Apple’s first time to be linked with Eli Lilly, but it is only one of the company’s latest moves on adding health features on their products. In fact, the latest version of the Apple Watch has features that can help diagnose health problems, as well as ResearchKit which helps researchers collect data for research on cognitive decline and Parkinson’s disease. What’s more, the company has also been working on software that can help detect falls among seniors.

So far, however, Apple has yet to roll out any features or apps specifically for dementia, but the new study shows that the company is intent on adding more useful health features for their consumer gadgets.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the 25th SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Anchorage, Alaska.

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