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Apple wants to battle disease with ResearchKit

Apple has just announced a new app ecosystem called ResearchKit in an effort to battle health problems.

The platform will allow medical scientists to outsource their research to apps, capitalising on the 700 million iPhones currently in circulation.

Jeff Williams, Senior VP of Operations at Apple, said: “ResearchKit is a software framework made specifically for medical research.”

It’s set to tackle the existing difficulties of conducting large-scale medical research.

Disease symtpons ebb and flow daily and sometimes hourly,” explained Williams. “When you participate in a study you often don’t hear back until the end of the study, if at all.”

The ResearchKit platform will let researchers easily create apps, turning the iPhone and HealthKit into powerful diagnostic tools.

It’s going to be completely open source, which means developers can easily create content on the platform.

Related: Apple Watch review

Five apps will be available at launch today, one of which is mPower, an app designed to help research Parkinson’s disease.

It was developed in partnership with the University of Rochester, and involves quick tapping tests for hand tremor evaluation. It will also use the accelerometer and gyroscope to measure gait and balance, further helping to examine early signs of Parkinson’s.

“Researchers believes exercise can affect the symptoms of Parkinson’s, but some believe exercise can slow or even halt the progression of Parkinson’s,” said Williams, explaining how the impact of exercise on Parkinsons’ could be mapped out in graphs on the phone.

Other launch apps include Asthma Help, Diabetes GlucoSuccess, MyHeart Counts, and Share the Journey, a breast cancer research app.

Apple was also keen to point out that it ‘will not see your data’, promising that all health metrics will be kept completely secure.

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