An ongoing study conducted by Evidation Health, Eli Lilly and Apple demonstrate the ability to detect cognitive decline and mild Alzheimer’s disease using a combination of Apple wearables, mobile devices, digital apps, and sleep sensors.

Large pharmaceutical sponsors such as Eli Lilly are capitalizing on the ubiquity of mobile apps, smartphones, sensor technology, and cloud computing not to mention artificial intelligence to introduce a range of powerful new digital health solutions from those that can predict heart attacks and epileptic seizures to supporting the monitoring behavioral health conditions.

Now initial results from a feasibility study revealed that there may be a way to differentiate people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia. These exploratory results were presented at a conference in Anchorage, Alaska sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery’s KDD conference.


The study sponsors report in their press release that it is now possible to obtain data through the use of Apple devices that can help clinical sponsors differentiate between individuals with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia and those without symptoms. They note that this was not easily detected through established clinical screening tools.

The Study

The 12-week study evaluated 113 participants, ages 60-75, in real-world settings to determine whether Apple devices in combination with mobile applications can help identify cognitive and behavioral differences among the study participants with and without mild cognitive impairment.

The study was facilitated by Evidation, which established a secure study platform to obtain participant’s consent to collect and analyze 16 terabytes of data from the smart devices, questionnaires about mood and energy, and simple assessment activities on the Digital Assessment App.

This app includes psychomotor tasks, such as dragging one shape onto another or tapping a circle as fast and as regularly as possible, reading tasks and typing tasks.

The Initial Findings

These initial findings of this exploratory study reveal feasibility evidence that wearable devices could enable solutions that may help identify and indicate when people are starting to experience cognitive decline. More specifically they show that Apple devices and digital applications could soon have potential to:

  • Monitor symptoms of people diagnosed with MCI or mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia;
  • Detect cognitive changes that could be indicative of MCI;
  • Test the efficacy of treatments and therapies; and accelerate the development of therapies used in conjunction with traditional diagnostic tools to improve the accuracy of diagnosis


The sponsors of this study include:

  • Eli Lilly
  • Evidation Health
  • Apple

Who is Evidation Health?

Founded in 2012 and based in San Mateo, CA (on the San Francisco Peninsula), Evidation Health is a new kind of health and measurement company that provides the world’s most innovative life sciences and health care companies the technology and expertise they need to understand how everyday behavior and health interact. The volume of behavior data generated from smartphones and connected sensors — including wearables and medical devices — has opened up new ways to analyze individuals’ behavior and health in real-time, unlocking insights into what medicines and treatments work best and spotting significant changes in health earlier.

The scale and utility of everyday behavior data have the potential to be one of the most transformative forces in medicine, and Evidation Health is leading the way. Over the years, Evidation has built the largest, most diverse virtual pool of research participants through its proprietary and popular app, Achievement. With a direct and trusted relationship with more than 2 million individuals, its deep research expertise, and its data platform, Evidation Health can undertake real-world research for life sciences and health care companies — and, ultimately, transform how health is measured and how diseases are identified, treated, and monitored. They have raised $61 million in venture capital financing.

Key Study Contacts

Nikki Marinsek, Ph.D., Evidation Health

Divakar Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., chief digital officer, Eli Lilly

Myoung Cha, Apple, Head of Health Strategic Partnerships

Source: PR Newswire

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