Apple is donating 1,000 Apple Watches to help university researchers gain a better understanding of eating disorders such as binge eating or the more specific bulimia nervosa.
The University of North Carolina’s medical school will soon be starting a study called BEGIN, which stands for Binge Eating Genetics Initiative, to better understand overeating. People with binge eating disorders often eat large amounts of food uncontrollably in a small period of time. Those who follow with compensatory behavior like purging or excessive exercise are typically diagnosed with bulimia nervosa.
The wristwear will track heart rates over a month-long period to see if there are any spikes ahead of binging incidents. If there are, it might be possible to alert caregivers and patients before these acts take place.
The devices are just one part of the study. Participants will also receive at-home gene and microbiome sample kits from UBiome that will help find any common genetic traits. They’ll also have to spend about 10 minutes per day logging their diets, goals and moods in a mobile journaling app, Recovery Record.