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New data available from Apple Women’s Health Study 

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Apple says in a Newsroom article that new preliminary findings from the Apple Women’s Health Study underscore the importance of paying attention to menstrual cycles and their connection to overall health.

The Apple Women’s Health Study is a first-of-its-kind research study conducted with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) that aims to advance the understanding of menstrual cycles and how they relate to various health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, and menopausal transition. 

Apple says the study is significant in its scope and scale because it invites anyone who has ever menstruated across the US to contribute to this research simply by using their iPhone.

Harvard Chan School researchers used survey data from the Apple Women’s Health Study to advance the scientific understanding around the relationship between persistently abnormal periods, PCOS, and endometrial hyperplasia and cancer. Looking at a preliminary analysis cohort of over 50,000 study participants, the study team found:

  • 12% of participants reported a PCOS diagnosis. Participants with PCOS had more than four times the risk of endometrial hyperplasia (precancer of the uterus) and more than 2.5 times the risk of uterine cancer.
  • 5.7% of participants reported their cycles taking five or more years to reach cycle regularity after their first period. Participants in that group had more than twice the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and more than 3.5 times the risk of uterine cancer, compared to those who reported their cycles took less than one year to reach regularity.

More awareness on menstrual cycle physiology and the impact of irregular periods and PCOS on uterine health is needed,” said Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MS, Harvard Chan School’s assistant professor of Environmental Reproductive and Women’s Health and co-principal investigator of the Apple Women’s Health Study. “This analysis highlights the importance of talking to a healthcare provider when menstruators are experiencing persistent changes to their period that span many months. Over time, we hope our research can lead to new strategies to reduce disease risk and improve health across the lifespan.”

The study team will conduct further analyses on this preliminary data for scientific publication.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.