“Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced,” Michelle Fay Cortez and Caroline Chen report for Bloomberg. “‘To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,’ said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. ‘That’s the power of the phone.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Make that “the power of the iPhone.”
“With ResearchKit, Apple has created a pool of hundreds of millions of iPhone owners worldwide, letting doctors find trial participants at unprecedented rates. Already five academic centers have developed apps that use the iPhone’s accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS sensors to track the progression of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and asthma,” Cortez and Chen report. “At the same time, other researchers caution that potential flaws in the information gathered through ResearchKit may make the data less useful… For starters, the average iPhone user is more likely to have graduate and doctoral degrees than the average Android user, and has a higher income as well, according to polling company CivicScience Inc. Those sort of demographic differences could skew the findings from a study.”
MacDailyNews Take: No worries: Apple’s ResearchKit is open source. Soon enough, even the less educated, poorer, shorter, unhealthier, and far less charitable fragmandroid sufferers will be able to populate the left side of the bell curve with their data (from cheap crappy sensors and all; good luck trying to account for that).
“Yet the iPhone also helps address a problem that standard trials often encounter: People enrolled in studies often falsely report their activity to researchers. By using its internal components or secondary devices connected wirelessly via Bluetooth, the iPhone can silently measure users’ behavior, without relying on them to keep track or be honest about what they’re doing,” Cortez and Chen report. “‘People don’t want to say they did zero exercise — they want to say they did something.’ Stanford’s Yeung said. ‘They don’t really tell us the truth.'”
“Many concerns about ResearchKit — such as whether the patient sample is representative — are issues with traditional clinical trials as well, said Todd Sherer, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which has collaborated with nonprofit group Sage Bionetworks on one of the apps,” Cortez and Chen report. “The Parkinson’s app had 5,589 consenting users by Tuesday morning, according to Sage. Sherer said he didn’t know the cost of developing the app, but the foundation’s biomarker study, a traditional trial with almost 800 participants over five years, has cost about $60 million.”
MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, the app didn’t cost $60 million.
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Once again, Apple makes the world a better place.
Apple’s open source ResearchKit will change the world for the better – March 9, 2015
Apple debuts ResearchKit, giving medical researchers the tools to revolutionize medical studies – March 9, 2015