Apple Research appSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple and the UCLA are partnering for a new study.
  • The study looks to understand how sleep and activity affects mental health.
  • It is limited to patients and the student body of UCLA Health.

Apple is partnering with the UCLA on a three-year study to understand how sleep, physical activity, heart rate, and daily routines affect depression and anxiety.

Reported by CNBC, the two companies will use data collected from the iPhone, Apple Watch, and the Beddit sleep-tracker, a company that Apple acquired back in 2017.

The university said that the pilot phase of the study will kick off this week and involves 150 participants recruited from among UCLA Health patients. From there, the next phases of the research will expand out to 3,000 participants from both the hospital and the student body. Study participants will download an app onto their iPhones, then receive a Beddit sleep monitor and an Apple Watch, which they can use throughout the study.

Dr. John Torous, the director of digital psychiatry of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says that the study is just the beginning of expanded testing to understand how digital technology can play a part in improving mental health.

"I think it's really exciting ... This shows that digital mental health research is really accelerating, and we're moving to the next phase of development ... These are large-scale studies really trying to answer core questions about whether these digital technologies will work for mental health."

The study, unlike some of Apple's other efforts with health partners, will be limited to the faculty, student, and patients at UCLA Health.