Apple Health data is being used for a PCOS study with Harvard University
Data shared by people who use Apple products are being used to understand menstrual health, including fertility, menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The study is conducted by Harvard University with over 37,000 participants, aiming to understand how lifestyle and demographic factors impact gynaecological health.
The Cycle Tracking feature in the Health app on iPhone and Apple Watch is used to track menstrual cycles; this data is combined with responses from the survey's participants and then analysed.
The latest report from the joint study by Apple and Harvard has focused on PCOS. It has been found that 12% of the people in the study were diagnosed with the condition. Those diagnosed with PCOS tended to be aged between 14 and 35 years old with a median age of 22. 23% of participants with PCOS reported a history of the condition in their family.
The Apple health study also found that participants with PCOS were more likely to have heart problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. What's more, compared to those who did not have the condition, those with PCOS were three times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes.
The study is ongoing, with Harvard warning that the latest report only contains preliminary insights. On the future of the research, Shruthi Mahalingaiah, co-lead investigator of the study, said that
Our hope is that by expanding the understanding of the public health burden of PCOS, we can create research models that can be applied to further scientific understanding of other health conditions and the burden of other diseases."