Mobile Computing

Stanford Researchers Launch Heart Health iPhone App

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have released a free iPhone app, MyHeart Counts, which is designed to help people learn about the health of their own hearts while contributing to a study of human heart health.

People can use the MyHeart Counts app to complete tasks and respond to surveys. In return, the app will provide them with an assessment of their heart health and information about how to improve it. Researchers will collect and analyze the data about physical activity and cardiac risk factors to further the study of prevention and treatment of heart disease.

The app uses the iPhone's built-in motion sensors to track participants' physical activity during a 6-minute walk test. Participants who have a wearable activity device connected to the MyHeart Counts app can use the device to collect additional data.

"MyHeart Counts aims to be the largest study of measured physical activity and cardiovascular health to date," said Michael McConnell, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford, in a prepared statement. "We want people to join in this research effort to give them personalized information about their heart health and help provide fundamental new insights into how activity helps your heart, across all ages, genders, cultures and countries."

The study is open to adults aged 18 or over. The current version of the app is available in English only to residents of the United States and requires an iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus. The team behind the app plans to make it available for other mobile platforms in the future and expand the app's availability worldwide.

The app uses Apple's new ResearchKit framework, which is designed to help researchers and developers to create apps for use in medical studies. Apple plans to release the framework as open source software next month.

Further information about MyHeart Counts can be found on Stanford's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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