The study aims to take advantage of smartphones to gather a vast amount of data on gay health issues.
Scientists at the University of California are launching a massive new study on the health of gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women, and they’re using Apple’s iPhone to do it.
The researchers are calling the effort “PRIDE for Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality,” and its focus will be on the risk factors for diseases like HIV/AIDS, depression, and cancer to name a few, and scientists are hoping tens of thousands of people sign up so the data will be as vast and diverse as possible, according to a Washington Post report.
There are definitely disparities between sexual minority groups and straight individuals, scientists believe, but there hasn’t been a great deal of data collected on that yet that allows researchers to learn more about, as even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention waited until 2013 to start tabulating sexual orientation data.
Scientists want to better understand the relationship between mental and physical health for LGBTQ patients, and they hope this app will be the key to doing that. Volunteers who want to participate need only to download the app on their phones and then fill out a brief 10-15 minute enrollment form that asks them for demographic information. It can even be done with a laptop computer if necessary. Then there is a 30-minute questionnaire that goes into more detail.
This is a potentially decades-long effort to gather data, not a one-off study, and it represents the most ambitious attempt to gather data on the LGBT community ever.
There are plenty of other apps Apple has released in collaboration with the organization ResearchKit to improve data collection and research for many different groups. For example, you can download an app to track heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer, as well as many other diseases.