Apple donates 1,000 Apple Watches for binge eating disorder research
Apple Watches have become a popular way for people to monitor their health, and now Apple is hoping this technology can go even further by assisting in medical research. According to a report from CNBC, the company is donating one-thousand Apple Watches for a study seeking to track biological changes in people living with binge eating disorder.
The University of North Carolina will use the smartwatches as part of the Binge Eating Genetics Initiative (shortened to BEGIN), which aims to better understand the patterns of behavior that characterize binge eating disorder and bulimia – such as eating an excessive amount in a short period and purging or exercising after a binge.
The researchers will distribute the watches to 1,000 participants over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa to see if the devices can track heart rate changes in relation to binges or purges.
Participants will also use a mobile app called Recovery Record to track their thoughts and feelings throughout the study. The app acts as a sort of digital journal that is shared with healthcare professionals ahead of treatment sessions.
Along with these digital tools, participants will also be asked to undergo simple genetics and bodily bacteria tests to explore potential root causes of these disorders.
“We need to collect data from a whole lot of people to see what it looks like,” said Cynthia Bulik, founding director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at UNC and author of Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide. “We want to know if it has a biological and behavioral signature.”