Apple is studying bringing more health features to the Apple Watch. One of these features is the ability to detect signs of cognitive decline.

Apple has been working with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and health startup Evidation to see if its wearable, namely the health-oriented Apple Watch, can be used to detect signs of dementia, CNBC reported.

According to research, three people from each company conducted a study involving 133 participants, three of Apple’s devices, and a testing period lasting 12 weeks. Eighty-two of the participants were in perfect health, while the other 31 had varying stages of cognitive decline and dementia.

All participants were each given an iPhone, an Apple Watch and a Beddit sleep tracker. They were also told to avoid taking medications that could affect the results of the test.

After the 12-week period, the researchers found that those who had some sort of cognitive decline behaved differently compared to those who didn’t. They typed less regularly, typed more slowly, and sent fewer text messages as compared to the healthy participants. They are also less likely to participate in or fill out surveys, and are more likely to depend on support apps.

Despite the results, the researchers refused to arrive at any conclusion. They said the study has limitations, and more analysis is needed before they could ever arrive at any long-term conclusions. The researchers acknowledge the risk of presenting test results to the participants as the results might cause them to have increased anxiety levels.

Does this mean the Apple Watch can be used to detect dementia?

Although the test revealed promising results, the fact remains that the researchers themselves failed to draw any conclusions. This simply implies that while the Apple Watch, along with the sleep tracker and the iPhone, was able to help researchers observe some behavioral patterns, users shouldn’t rely on the wearable to determine if they or their loved ones have early-stage dementia.

The test, however, revealed that Apple wants to establish the Apple Watch as a tool that will help in the early diagnosis of cognitive health problems -- if not now, then in the future.

Apple Watch stage Equipped with fall-detection and ECG capabilities, another Apple Watch feature saved a woman from sexual assault. Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Noah Berger