Neuroscience company Biogen Inc. has announced a new virtual research study, in collaboration with Apple, to investigate the role Apple Watch and iPhone could play in monitoring cognitive performance and screening for decline in cognitive health including mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The multi-year, observational research study will be launched later in 2021 and will enroll participants including young and aging adults with a range of cognitive performance. Driven by the technology in Apple Watch and iPhone and Biogen’s knowledge of neuroscience, the study’s primary objectives are to develop digital biomarkers to help monitor cognitive performance over time and identify early signs of MCI.
For aging adults, cognitive health is becoming increasingly recognized as an important component of overall health. However, significant delays exist in identifying declines in cognitive health including MCI, which impacts approximately 15 – 20 percent of adults over the age of 65. The onset of symptoms is often subtle, ranging from being easily distracted to memory loss, and can take months to years before cognitive decline comes to the attention of health care providers.
Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos says the virtual study allows adult users across the aging lifespan to join. The study has been designed with customer privacy, control and transparency in mind as well as data security, he adds.
Participants, who can stop taking part in the study at any time, will complete a detailed consent form listing the collected data types and how each may be used and shared. Data will be stored in an encrypted manner and in systems with strong security controls designed to protect the data.