Mobile Apps & Wearables to Make You Smarter

by Shweta Mishra

Of course we wear good clothes to look smart. But think about wearing a thing on your body that may actually make you smarter. The idea that exercise makes your brain cells produce more chemicals that makes you sharp is underscored with all the recent studies investigating the correlation between exercise and brain health. One of these studies investigated by Henriette van Praag, at the National Institute on Aging at the NIH shows that exercise helps produce a chemical called cathepsin B in our brains, and cathepsin B aids in the functioning of our brains. So how great would it be, if you had a companion 24/7 which could nag you to get up and go, every time you procrastinated and finally your mind told you – “skip it today”. 

The market is getting flooded with apps and wearables to keep you motivated.

Now, What are Apps & Wearables? In the first half of this very comprehensive webinar  TrialX CEO Sharib Khan and CTO Dr. Chintan Patel simplify what these apps and wearables actually are.  

By definitionApps are software programs that have been developed to run on a computer or mobile device to accomplish a specific purpose. Faster processors, improved memory, smaller batteries, and highly efficient open-source operating systems that perform complex functions have paved the way for the development of a flood of medical mobile device apps for both professional and personal use.

Wearables are apps integrated into a system that allows you to wear them anywhere on your body from head to toe.

“Statistics suggests that with 65% of Americans carrying a smart phone, nearly 62% have used their phone to get health related information”, Sharib explains. Currently there are 1.5 M apps on App store with 130 billion downloads and 2M apps on Google play with 65 billion downloads. Health and fitness apps rank fairly well among other categories of apps available and are used by 4% of all app users.

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What do these apps have to do with motivation? Well, these can be apps which count your steps while you walk or run, these can be apps which can tell your health stats like heart beat, breathing pattern, blood glucose levels as you exercise, and finally there can be apps which tell you your mood before and after you have exercised.

With 95% of Americans carrying mobile phone, Apple harnessed the opportunity and decided to put these phones to good use by launching HealthKit in 2014 to help people manage health info on their phones. HealthKit created more integrated user experience by allowing customers and researchers to read and write activity related data like heart rate, pulse, breathing pattern etc., converting a smartphone into health data source.

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The launch of Apple’s ResearchKit in 2015 allowed medical researchers to come together with developers to build some great medical apps. ResearchKit works uniformly with the HealthKit and allows researchers to access yet more relevant health data like step counts, calories consumed etc. Now, in 2016, Apple extended its CareKit to the medical world, mainly to cater to clinical and post clinical care.

Apple launched ReseachKit apps in 2015 with 5 apps – mpower, Asthma, myheart, Share the Journey, and GlucoSuccess, and today we have 25 apps covering varied health topics. 

Read more on how researchkit apps are performing here.

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TrialX developed America Walks Study (AWS) App using ResearchKit and launched it in March 2016. The study continues to recruit participants until 30th September, 2016, to collect their walk data to investigate walking behavior of Americans (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02792439?term=America+Walks&rank=1). The data collected via this app will tell us if it motivated people to walk more after downloading this app. The AWS app can be downloaded on both iOS (5s & above) and android phones from here

Build a custom Android ResearchKit App

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