Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Apple, and the National Institutes of Health recently announced the Apple Women’s Health Study, a large-scale longitudinal study led by Harvard Chan researchers that will leverage participants’ use of a smartphone app to inform screening and risk assessment of conditions including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis, breast cancer, pregnancy complications, and menopausal transition.
The study will be led by Dean Michelle Williams, Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, and supported by co-principal investigators Russ Hauser, Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology and chair of the Department of Environmental Health, and Brent Coull, professor of biostatistics and associate chair of the Biostatistics Department. Other team members include Shruthi Mahalingaiah, assistant professor of environmental reproductive and women’s health, and Jukka-Pekka Onnela, associate professor of biostatistics and director of the Master’s Program in Health Data Science.
In recent years, researchers have acknowledged the need to reevaluate the relationship of menstruation to overall health outcomes in women. Treating the menstrual cycle as a vital sign—comparable to blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and respiration rate—could lead to the earlier detection of many health conditions, both gynecological and systemic. The study represents a tremendous opportunity to bridge disciplinary domains and to vastly extend the reach of conventional data collection and analysis. For more information on this exciting initiative, see this recent Harvard press release.