tech2 News Staff Oct 17, 2018 09:42 AM IST
Apple Inc has donated thousands of its Watches to a study on binge-eating, a push to expand its applications in monitoring a wider range of health disorders, CNBC reported.
The Binge-Eating Genetic Initiative (BEGIN) is a study led by University of North California medical school. The study aims to get to the root causes that lead up to someone overeating, specifically, its genetics causes.
Those with a binge-eating problem have an apparently uncontrollable urge to consume large amounts of food over a short span of time.
Some even follow these episodes with working out excessively or purging, a related disorder called bulimia nervosa.
These are the illness that have seen little attention from the research community, a recent study reports, likely due to a lack of funding.
The Watch will primarily monitor heart rates for spikes before the participants have a binge-eating episode, said the study’s flyer.
It’s likely that there may be some biological change at this time, which the Apple Watch may pick up with its sensors, Cynthia Bulik, a researcher associated with the BEGIN study said to CNBC.
"We need to collect data from a whole lot of people to see what it looks like," Bulik said. "We want to know if it has a biological and behavioural signature."
Other data recording will be feelings and thoughts of the participants through the day — fed into a mobile app called Recovery Record and shared with the doctor ahead of a consultation or session.
"We're interested to find out what happens in the time period leading up to the binge and the purge," Jenna Tregarthen, CEO of Recovery Record, said to CNBC.
"And we hope we can anticipate and ultimately change the course of that episode."
On top of surveying and monitoring heart rates, the study also tests the genetics and microbiome (gut bacteria) of the participants.
This part of the study is outsourced to UBiome, a startup that develops at-home testing kits for bodily bacteria.