Studies Incorporate Genetic Data for Postpartum Depression, Asthma & Cardiovascular Disease
Apple today announced advancements to the open source ResearchKit framework that bring geneticÃ‚Â data and a series of medical tests typically conducted in an exam room to iPhone apps.
Medical researchers are adopting these new features toÃ‚Â design targeted studies for diseases and conditions that affect billions of people around the world and to gather more specific types of data fromÃ‚Â participants.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The response to ResearchKit has been fantastic. Virtually overnight, many ResearchKit studies became the largest in history and researchers areÃ‚Â gaining insights and making discoveries that werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t possible before,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Jeff Williams, AppleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chief operating officer.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Medical researchers aroundÃ‚Â the world continue to use iPhone to transform what we know about complex diseases, and with continued support from the open sourceÃ‚Â community, the opportunities for iPhone in medical research are endless.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ResearchKit turns iPhone into a powerful tool for medical research by helping doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequentlyÃ‚Â and more accurately from participants anywhere in the world using iPhone apps. Participants enrolled in these app-based studies can review anÃ‚Â interactive informed consent process, easily complete active tasks or submit survey responses, and choose how their health data is shared withÃ‚Â researchers, making contributions to medical research easier than ever.
By delivering ResearchKit as open source, any developer can quickly design a research study for iPhone. They can also build on the available softwareÃ‚Â code and contribute their tasks back to the community to help other researchers do more with the framework. Using a new module just released toÃ‚Â the open source community, researchers are now able to incorporate genetic data into their studies in a seamless, simple and low cost way.
DesignedÃ‚Â by 23andMe, the module allows study participants to easily contribute their genetic data to medical research. Researchers are also working with theÃ‚Â National Institute of Mental Health to deliver Ã¢â‚¬Å“spit kitsÃ¢â‚¬Â to study participants based on a series of survey results.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so much we still need to learn about postpartum depression and it may be DNA that provides the key to better understanding why someÃ‚Â women experience symptoms and others do not,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH, director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at the UNCÃ‚Â Center for WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mood Disorders.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With ResearchKit, and now the ability to incorporate genetic data, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re able to engage women withÃ‚Â postpartum depression from a wide geographic and demographic range and can analyze the genomic signature of postpartum depression to helpÃ‚Â us find more effective treatments.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Collecting this type of information will help researchers determine genomic indicators for specific diseases and conditions,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Eric Schadt, PhD, theÃ‚Â Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Founding Director of the Icahn Institute forÃ‚Â Genomics and Multiscale Biology.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Take asthma, for example. ResearchKit is allowing us to study this population more broadly than ever before andÃ‚Â through the large amounts of data weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re able to gather from iPhone, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re understanding how factors like environment, geography and genesÃ‚Â influence oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disease and response to treatment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ResearchKit studies incorporating genetic data:
- Postpartum Depression: PPD Act is a new app-based study that will use genetic testing to better understand why some women are impacted byÃ‚Â postpartum depression by examining the genetic makeup of those with the condition. Led by the University of North Carolina School of MedicineÃ‚Â and the international Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment Consortium, PPD Act will offer study participants access to a Ã¢â‚¬Å“spitÃ‚Â kitÃ¢â‚¬Â from the National Institute of Mental Health.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Developed by Stanford Medicine, the MyHeart Counts app will use genetic data from existing 23andMe customers to helpÃ‚Â determine predisposition to heart conditions and measure how a participantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s activity and lifestyle relate to cardiovascular health. By studying theseÃ‚Â relationships on a broad scale, researchers hope to be able to better understand how to keep hearts healthy.
- Asthma: The Asthma Health app, designed to track symptom patterns in an individual and identify potential triggers for these symptoms, will useÃ‚Â genetic data from 23andMe customers to help researchers better understand ways to personalize asthma treatment. Asthma Health is designed byÃ‚Â the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and LifeMap Solutions.
Researchers continue to adapt ResearchKit and build on the framework by contributing new modules that bring exam room medical tests to iPhoneÃ‚Â apps. Key contributions include the ability to study tone audiometry; measure reaction time through delivery of a known stimulus to a knownÃ‚Â response; assess the speed of information processing and working memory; use the mathematical puzzle Tower of Hanoi for cognition studies; andÃ‚Â conduct a timed walk test.
ResearchKit studies continue to expand internationally and are available in Australia, Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands,Ã‚Â Switzerland, the UK and the US. ResearchKit apps are available on the App Store for iPhone 5 and later, and the latest generation of iPod touch.