To help us understand CTE, Harvard developed TeamStudy for ex-NFL players

Verizon NFL deal
FF Swami/Flickr
The sports world is known for its acronyms, but CTE is one abbreviation that sports players, coaches, and fans alike dread hearing. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, has become nearly synonymous with the NFL these last several months. And now scientists from Harvard have developed an app to show ex-NFL players just how much of an effect their careers have had on their health. It’s called TeamStudy, and medical researchers hope that the platform may help us better understand what makes these athletes tick.

Built using ResearchKit, Apple’s open source software framework, TeamStudy is the product of teamwork between medical experts and former NFL players. Together, the two groups created an app that focuses “on health issues that matter most to them, such as memory, balance, heart health, pain and mobility.” For about 20 minutes each week, players interact with the app, entering data including their pain tolerance, mobility, and memory. And if you’re not a former pro-baller but want to participate as well, the Harvard team welcomes your input — everyone is welcome to download the app for free and receive results and statistics on study findings.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 6.24.45 PM

“By bringing the Football Players Health study to this app, we’re able to easily capture data from participants all over the nation, enabling us to better understand the everyday experiences of former NFL players,” said Alvaro Pascual-Leone, the principal investigator of TeamStudy. “Traditionally, we study participants in one location, failing to capture their real-life, day-to-day experience — for example, understanding things like pain and daily activity.” But thanks to this new app, he says,  “We will be able to quickly identify patterns that could lead to treatments for health conditions faced by former NFL players.”

And it’s not just scientists who are excited about the implications of this app. Former Texas A&M Aggie and Dallas Cowboy linebacker Dat Nguyen was heavily involved in the app’s development, and notes, “As a former linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys for seven years, I can tell you that knowledge is key to progress. When we leave the game, there is not enough information available for us to understand our state of health.” Reflecting upon years of questions, including “‘Should my joints have this much pain? Is my memory normal? Should I be concerned about my heart health?'” Nguyen says he’s eager to see how the Harvard researchers will ultimately “answer these questions and share the facts with all of us.”

As CTE continues to cause concern for football players past, present, and future, the general consensus on the matter is that knowledge is power. “This app will allow the Harvard team to take its work to another level — reaching perhaps thousands more former players and extending even further to fans, friends, spouses and other communities,” said Mark Herzlich, a linebacker for the New York Giants. “Across the board, we’re seeing more mainstream interest in supporting player health. TeamStudy will allow everyone’s voice to be heard as app users perform simple activities and answer basic health questions.”


Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Smart Home

Allergies acting up? Thes best air purifiers on the market can offer relief

Indoor air is often more contaminated than the air outside, which can cause an array of health issues over time. Luckily, these air purifiers can easily rid your home or office of unwanted allergens and contaminants.

Alphabet’s health watch monitors your heart health, is approved by the FDA

A health monitoring watch being developed by Alphabet, Google's parent company, has received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. This means that the device has been found to be safe and can legally be sold in the U.S.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.

The 2020 iPhones may only use OLED displays and Intel 5G modems

While some reports hinted that Apple was looking to move away from using Intel tech, a new report suggests the exact opposite. Reportedly, Apple has chosen Intel to supply 5G modems for Apple's first 5G-enabled iPhone, due in 2020.

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

Moschino glams up the 48-megapixel Honor View 20 at Paris launch

After its success with the View 10 in 2018, Honor has announced its sequel, the Honor View 20 with an entirely new type of display which has a hole-punch for the camera rather than a notch.

10 top features you should be using on your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can do more than just tell you the time, but you may not be aware of all the different functions it has. Our list of the 10 most often used functions and features will help you understand what it can really do.

Get your photos on billboards with Apple’s 2019 ‘Shot on iPhone’ program

Like previous years, Apple has once again launched its Shot on iPhone program, which encourages users to submit the best photos they've taken with their iPhone. Ultimately, the winners will get their photos featured on billboards.