Statement by Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) President John Dwyer on today’s announcement that Biogen and Apple are partnering on an observational study to investigate the role Apple Watch and iPhone could play in screening for mild cognitive impairment (MCI):
Today’s announcement by Biogen and Apple marks a significant step on the path to early diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the precursor to Alzheimer’s. By applying world-class neuroscience expertise to information from volunteers using the Apple Watch and iPhone, this virtual study holds the promise of eventually creating an effective early warning system for brain health.
Currently, most patients are conclusively diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or for risk Alzheimer’s through expensive, time consuming, and for some patients, inaccessible procedures. Digital and blood biomarker tests are less expensive, less invasive, and more accessible. The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation will soon begin a large-scale study of the leading digital and blood biomarker tests.
We applaud the decision to open this study to adults of all ages and cognitive abilities, giving researchers the ability to track brain health over time and better understand the earliest indicators of decline.
As we wish them well with this important study, we urge Biogen and Apple to prioritize recruiting and providing access to a diverse universe of study participants that includes Black and Hispanic participation at rates that match the incidence of MCI and Alzheimer’s in those communities.