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Apple’s quest to put a smartwatch on every wrist continues with its latest health research: a new study showing the Apple Watch can be used to monitor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers at Apple, working with specialists who treat Parkinson’s, designed a system that uses the Apple Watch to detect the motor symptoms that are a hallmark of the neurological disease. By monitoring resting tremors and other involuntary movements, the researchers were able to identify the characteristic “on” and “off” patterns of medication’s effects. Their findings were published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.


The research could be a boon to both clinical trials and care for the millions living globally with Parkinson’s. If further developed, the researchers’ system could be used to capture round-the-clock objective measurements of symptoms with the Apple Watch. Specialists often rely on infrequent clinical visits and self-reporting to monitor the disease’s progression and the impacts of medicine. While there are specialized devices in the market that can do such monitoring, there are advantages to using a gadget people recognize and feel comfortable around.

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