The FDA has approved an Apple Watch app to track Parkinson’s disease


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light to an Apple Watch app to monitor Parkinson’s disease, developed by San Francisco-based startup Rune Labs. As Reuters reported, pre-existing sensors in the Apple Watch can already detect falls, tremors and other movement disorders consistent with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But Rune Labs has gone a step further with its app, collecting individual data on symptoms experienced by patients so it can be shared with doctors to help determine the best course of treatment.

Brian Pepin, CEO of Rune Labs, said data collected by Apple Watch through its Parkinson’s disease monitoring app will be combined with data from other sources, such as brain implants. He also added that the app uses Rune Labs’ StrivePD software to send doctors continuous streams of data to give movement patterns more context. This provides more data than doctors would get by watching a patient come in for a short clinic visit, because the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease change over time.

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“When you think about the process of getting someone to their optimal therapy or their combination of drugs or devices, or even whether or not a patient might be a good candidate for a certain clinical trial, that’s a decision. very hard to take when you only have a little bit of context,” Pepin said.

Developers have been testing Apple Watch monitoring of Parkinson’s since Apple introduced its ResearchKit framework in 2015. Originally, this allowed the Apple Watch to track users’ walking gait by prompting them to walk 20 steps in all directions. Three years later, Apple updated ResearchKit with the Movement Disorder API, which can detect two common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: tremors and dyskinesia, a side effect of Parkinson’s disease drugs that causes movement. of agitation and swaying.

The Parkinson’s Watch app is the second Apple Watch software to receive FDA clearance after the agency cleared AFib history for use in watchOS 9 after it was showcased at WWDC last week. This feature tells users diagnosed with atrial fibrillation how often their heartbeat shows signs of atrial fibrillation, which, if left untreated, can lead to stroke and other cardiovascular complications.

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