Pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly has teamed up with Apple to identify whether devices like the Apple Watch can be used for spoting signs of dementia in users. The two companies together with health start-up Evidation conducted a study to look into ways to detect cognitive impairment using consumer devices.
The study was intent on analyzing behaviour with devices, rather than physical tracking. Apple has already introduced fall detection and an ECG in the Apple Watch Series 4 and it is a proof of their commitment to focus on health tracking. The 12-week study used a control group of 81 healthy participants and 31 participants with dementia or cognitive impairment. These users were asked to interact with iPhones, Apple Watches and Beddit sleep trackers. The inference was that people with cognitive impairment typed slower and sent fewer messages when compared to healthy participants. The results indicated that it is possible to draw parallel between cognitive health and behavior towards devices.
Though results are not conclusive and Apple may not come out with an actual device to identify dementia any time soon, it is encouraging that such studies are underway. Sooner or later, we might get devices which will alert us to early signs of certain diseases.