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Apple ResearchKit gets an early boost as applicants flood in

Apple’s software framework ResearchKit is off to a cracking start, with Stanford University gaining over a year’s worth of medical research applicants in 24 hours.

The five apps launched study Parkinson’s, diabetes, cardiovascular, breast cancer and asthma. It allows people to take tests, discuss with other patients and doctors, and receive real-time information on the disease.

Medical researchers will be able to take the massive amount of data and work to find patterns in affected and unaffected applicants, hopefully pinpointing why a certain disease comes to some people and not to others.

Apple showed several esteemed medical professionals claiming the iPhone is the future of medical research, and that the only way to further advance medicine is to open it up to millions of people globally.

ResearchKit is not hitting millions yet, but thousands of people have downloaded and started using the new apps, most have a few short tests and collect sensor data to better understand the user, who remains anonymous throughout.

Medical researchers claim the normality of the iPhone apps and the everyday sensors will remove the ability to “lie to the doctor”, something that happens all too often when researchers ask questions like: how much exercise do you do per week?; how much alcohol do you drink?

Instead of having the patient lie about their medical history, the iPhone will take all of the available health information right from the iPhone, normally situated in user’s pocket at all times.

The Apple Watch will also provide medical researchers with information, but some worry the amount of information will be too much for facilities to handle, and most of it will be of no use to the researchers.

There is also the worry that iPhone users will not take the tests seriously, downloading it once, finding no reward, then scrapping it.

Hopefully this will not be the case, and medical researchers seem to be confident this is the way forward regardless of the potential for inactivity from thousands of users in the coming weeks.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.