Do you have a friend or family member who owns an Apple Watch that you just can’t take your eye off of? They are really cool gadgets, and almost a must-have for anyone who fancies themselves a tech person.
One of the more fun things the Apple Watch can do is help with one’s fitness, tracking everything from physical activity to heart rate. It has even helped save lives while the data it collects has also provided evidence in a murder case.
Along with all that, the Apple Watch could also, maybe, track eating disorders. At least, that’s the idea behind a program that will see 1,000 people who participate in a study receive a free watch.
How does the study work?
The study, called “BEGIN,” is run out of the University of North Carolina’s medical school. The name stands for Binge Eating Genetics Initiative, and its goal is to gain a better understanding of overeating.
People who are being studied will wear the watch, and researchers will be monitoring them to see whether or not a person’s heart rate jumps just prior to binge eating. The belief is that there is some biological change before an episode, which could be recorded by the device.
The watches will be provided courtesy of Apple, though the company declined to comment on the matter. Regardless, it is hoped that when the study is finished, the researchers will have a better understanding of whether or not there are biological behaviors when it comes to binge eating.
If there are, it may be possible to better predict incidents before they happen, which could in turn lead to some sort of preventative measures. Given that at least 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder, this would be a very good thing.
So how do I sign up?
First you have to be eligible, which you are if you have a current or lifetime experience with a binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa, are 18 years old and living in the United States, and have an iPhone (model 5 or newer).
Check all those boxes? Then tap or click here to be taken to a preliminary screening survey.
Once part of the study, your mood, food and goals will be recorded for 30 days. You will need to complete a few questionnaires about your mental health and health history, as well as provide a fast and painless sample of your saliva.
For that, they will mail you a free saliva collection kit that includes a prepaid postage envelope. You will also be asked to provide the researchers with a quick and painless sample of your bodily bacteria, for which they will mail you a free microbiome collection kit that also includes a prepaid postage envelope.
People who participate in the study will have access to their personalized gut microbiome results (retailed at $149).