Apple hires top medical researcher to boost health game

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Stephen Friend is the latest medical guru to join Apple.
Stephen Friend is the latest medical guru to join Apple.
Photo: TED

One of the biggest names in medical research has joined Apple and will likely provide a huge boost to the company’s medical efforts.

Stephen Friend, co-founder and former president of Sage Bionetworks, accepted a job at Apple recently, and although the two sides are keeping quiet on what exactly Friend will be doing, he’ll likely be one of the leaders of the company’s growing digital health team.

Apple hires Google X Lab co-founder to work on health projects

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Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Apple's latest hire specialized at building robotic hands.
Photo: University of Washington/Flickr

Apple has added yet another wicked smart talent to its ranks recently by hiring famed robotics expert Yoky Matsuoka.

Yoky was working as the head of technology at Nest before joining Apple. She was also one of the co-founders of Google’s X Lab and is a MacArthur genius award winner.

Weighing the options for monitoring your body fat

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Withings Smart Body Analyzer (left) vs. DEXA, the
Withings Smart Body Analyzer (left) vs. DEXA, the "gold standard" for body fat analysis (right)
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

If you want to lose weight, your Apple Watch can help you sustain healthy habits, but it can’t actually monitor your progress. For that you need to step onto scales.

Any scale will measure your weight, but that is only part of the story. Whether you are dieting or bulking up, it is just as important to keep track of your body fat. The trouble is, this is notoriously hard to measure accurately. As I discovered when I bought a new Withings Smart Body Analyzer, if you think you already know your body fat percentage, you are probably way off.

Has Apple Watch helped you get in shape?

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Join the Cult of Mac club on Strava and share your fitness story
Join the Cult of Mac club on Strava and share your fitness story
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch has been on our wrists for just five months and yet it is already having an amazing impact on many people’s lives.

We want to find out how Cult of Mac readers are using Cupertino’s fitness tech to get in shape, so we’re inviting everyone to share their inspiring stories. Plus, we’ve set up a new Cult of Mac club on Strava so you can connect with other readers who are into fitness.

Why Apple’s Active Calories don’t add up (and how you can change that)

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In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Have you ever noticed that some of your workout data is missing from the Health app on your iPhone?

Apple’s Health app is designed to provide a central hub for all your fitness apps to save and share their data. You might assume this means all your Active Calories are added together, regardless of which app you use to log them. But the truth is not that simple — although you can tweak some hidden settings to customize what you see.

You miss out on HealthKit when using Android Wear with iOS

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you-miss-out-on-healthkit-when-using-android-wear-with-ios-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201509healthkit-780x648-jpg
HealthKit won’t be available to Android Wear customers any time soon.
Photo: Apple

Android Wear made the leap to iOS yesterday, meaning that iPhone owners can now buy and use Android Wear smartwatches should they feel so inclined.

One thing they can’t do, however, is to use Apple’s HealthKit platform to monitor their Android Wear fitness data. According to Apple, data such as step count and heart rate can only be tracked via the Google Fit dashboard — meaning that health-conscious users will want to hang onto their Apple Watches.

And somewhat surprisingly, the decision was entirely Google’s.

The trouble with Apple Watch’s fitness tracker

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Your
Your "other" workout had better be cardio. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s approach to fitness is all about cardio and burning calories.

That’s great if you’re into running or cycling. But for other kinds of exercise, like bodybuilding or yoga, it’s not relevant at all. And if you want to lose weight, cutting the calories you eat is usually more important than burning calories through exercise.

So why does Apple Watch focus exclusively on cardio, and what does this means for people using one to get in shape?

Top L.A. hospital using HealthKit to monitor 80,000 patients

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Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple
Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple

Apple’s ambitions as a mobile health company took a giant leap forward over the weekend, as HealthKit was connected to more than 80,000 patient files at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

This means that Cedars-Sinai doctors now have the ability to take iOS Health data into account when making clinical and medical judgments — allowing physicians to easily access patients’  weight, blood pressure, steps taken, glucose levels, and oxygen saturation levels as gathered from their iOS devices.