In Brief

Apple Watch aid for Parkinsons’s disease patients

Smartwatch can help sufferers manage the condition by monitoring symptoms such as shakes and tremors

A new piece of software for the Apple Watch promises to help Parkison’s disease patients better manage their symptoms. 

The “Movement Disorder” API will allow developers to create apps that can track two symptoms associated with the syndrome - tremors and dyskinesia, or involuntary movement - continuously throughout the day, reports Engadget

The new software has been built for Apple’s ResearchKit development tool and is due for release later this year as part of the watchOS 5 update

According to The Daily Telegraph, Parkinson’s patients will be able to measure their “dexterity, balance, gait and memory” when an Apple Watch is strapped to their wrist. 

The data gathered by the device can be sent to researchers to help study the disease, as well as being shared with doctors, “potentially limiting [patients’] visits to their specialist”, says the newspaper.

Apple’s ResearchKit could be used to assist people with other diseases and disorders, too. 

Researchers at US-based digital health firm Cardiogram have discovered that the Apple Watch may be able to help spot stroke symptoms, by monitoring irregular heartbeats. 

Other studies indicate that the ResearchKit software may be able to help doctors detect autism, melanoma and epilepsy.

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