Could Your iPhone or Watch Help Detect the Onset of Dementia?

6 Minute Read

The answer: "Watch this space!" The Apple and Biogen partnership's observational virtual study for iPhone and Apple Watch users is currently underway!

Could Your iPhone Help Detect the Onset of Dementia
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

Introducing “Intuition”

The study, called “Intuition"[1], sees Apple and the US pharmaceutical giant, Biogen, partner to identify digital biomarkers which will help monitor cognitive performance over time. Any declines in performance could indicate early forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, inviting the participation of US residents only, commenced in late 2021[2]. It is of two years in duration, so by 2025 we should receive an answer to the question whether our iPhone can help detect cognitive decline, and possibly dementia.

It is an exciting development in brain health, as we know that early detection can lead to early diagnosis and early treatment, with early treatment giving better long-term outcomes.

What is remarkable is the format of the study. Any US resident with an iPhone 8 and above can participate. Imagine the amount of data collected by this virtual study!

Having Biogen behind it is another plus, given its reputation as a pioneer in neuroscience and its advanced research into treatments for Alzheimer’s disease[3] and dementia.

How does it work?

The study invites 21 to 86 year-olds across the US to download the Intuition App[4] from the Apple App Store on their iPhone (iPhone 8 and above) and complete the study participation and consent forms.

On completing all the paperwork, the participant is provided a new Apple Watch SE.

For the following 24 months, the participant’s data is collected through:

  • Their everyday use of their iPhone and Apple Watch.

  • Their completion of a health and habits survey sent every three months through the App.

  • Their completion of a series of short tests (validated cognitive test batteries) also sent via the App.


The time commitment is around one hour per month.

On completing each task, the participant earns points. If they earn enough points (i.e. complete the study), they can keep the Apple Watch. Simple!

The aim is to identify digital biomarkers to help measure changes in thinking and memory in adults, as well as identify longer-term changes in brain health.

Some changes in brain health occur normally as we age, while others may be early indicators of certain forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is still looking for participants in the 50 to 86 year age group, though you need to be a US resident. Those involved are not given an assessment of their cognitive health after the two years. It is simply for data gathering purposes only.

What a shame they couldn’t obtain a sample group from Australia as we are sure many people would put their hand up to be in this trial!

We currently have Apps helping us monitor our cardiovascular health.

Watch this space for one monitoring our brain health!


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If you are visiting someone living with dementia, download our Dementia Activity Poster for great ideas of activities you can share with your loved one.

Dementia Activity Poster

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If you are seeking care for a loved one with dementia, please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
- Contact Danielle - For An Impartial & Confidential Conversation



[1] Intuition: Brain Health Facts
[2] Biogen: Biogen to Launch Pioneering Study to Develop Digital Biomarkers of Cognitive Health Using Apple Watch & iPhone
[3] US Food & Drug Administration: FDA's Decision to Approve New Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease
[4] Not available in Australia as study participants must be resident in the US.



Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!