Apple, Johnson & Johnson launch study for stroke risk reduction

Apple and Johnson & Johnson opened enrollment on Feb. 25 for their joint "Heartline Study," in which they will test whether the iPhone and Apple Watch can speed detection of atrial fibrillation in users aged 65 and older.

AFib is a leading cause of stroke in the U.S., but often does not present symptoms until a stroke or other serious cardiovascular event occurs. In the study, participants will use the iPhone Heartline Study app and the Apple Watch's ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications to speed and improve AFib detection, allowing for earlier interventions in patients with a high risk of stroke, therefore potentially reducing the likelihood of stroke.

To participate in the two-year study, patients must be at least 65 years old, have Original Medicare, own an iPhone and agree to give researchers access to their Medicare claims data. Not all participants will be required to use an Apple Watch for the study; those that are will have the option to purchase one or borrow one for the duration of the study.

Beyond tracking their heart health, the Heartline Study app will also regularly provide participants with education, tips and questionnaires to help improve their overall health and wellness.

"Apple technology is making a meaningful impact on scientific research through the powerful capabilities of iPhone and Apple Watch, all with privacy at the center of the participant experience," Myoung Cha, Apple's head of health strategic initiatives, said in a news release. "The Heartline Study will help further understanding of how our technology could both contribute to science and help improve health outcomes, including reducing the risk of stroke."

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