Mobile application helps to detect depression and other psychological problems at the earliest stages.
The diagnosis does not require a visit to the doctor - a person's condition is assessed according to the patterns of his usual behavior.
Many people suffer from depression and other "mental" diseases. Only in the USA about 45 million people have problems with the so-called mental health, and the treatment of each person in this case is strictly individual. But technology helps solve the problem. In particular, smartphones, of course, not by themselves, but with specialized software.
Startup Mindstrong Health decided to turn the smartphones of its users into a mobile doctor, which allows you to diagnose depression and a number of other problems. The company in question is founded by three doctors, one of whom is the former head of an organization such as the US National Institute of Mental Health. So, the company's team knows everything about mental disorders and problems of people.
Mindstrong Health offers everyone to try out a mobile phone application that tracks the indicators of cognitive abilities and the emotional health of its owner. As soon as the user has installed the Mindstrong application, it starts monitoring. Of course, an application cannot get into a person’s head (at least not now), but it can track some patterns of behavior, including how it interacts with the phone (type of pressing, scrolling, etc.).
All this is motility, which depends on the psychological and emotional state of a person. Data is transferred to the cloud, where it is analyzed using AI. By changing patterns of human behavior, one can evaluate his emotional state, which is what a smartphone does. Thus, the application in question, is able to identify depression in the very early stages. Next, the patient must contact the doctor to solve the problem.
Paul Dagum, the founder and CEO of the company, supported financially research scientists on the topic of determining the emotional state of a person according to the patterns of his behavior, in particular - the specifics of working with a mobile device. Were conducted clinical trials (about 150), which allowed to form the basis for the service.
To assess the psychological state of volunteers, we used both conventional neurophysiological tests and other methods. Then all the data were compared, analyzed, and the results were used for AI training. The application was run-in on the same volunteers who used their smartphones in the usual way. The data was sent to the server, where it was processed.
Using behavioral patterns, that is, determining not what a person does, but how he performs various actions to diagnose a person’s psychological state is not a new idea. But to use for this a mobile device and a specialized device offered by the first Mindstrong, and not only offered, but also realized the plan. In addition to depression, the program is able to diagnose and other problems. By the way, one of the signs of deterioration of emotional health is the ability to switch between different tasks.
In addition, diseases that cause memory problems can be identified by assessing the typing speed on the smartphone screen. At the same time, the number of errors in the typed text is also determined. The company's founders say that even if you use a regular smartphone keyboard, type the text, the brain still constantly switches from one task to another. The speed of switching depends on the emotional state, as mentioned above.
Founders Tom Insel and Paul Dagum
In 2016, representatives of Dagum visited Verily, one of the divisions of the Alphabet holding. Here they got acquainted with the work of one of the scientists, a psychiatrist, who worked for about 13 years at the US National Institute of Mental Health.
The employees of the unit in question tried to understand whether the process of using a mobile device can be an indicator of a person’s emotional state, and if so, how. The company introduced the first developments for a long time, the platform and the rationale did not appear today.
Clinical trials were conducted for about five years with the participation of thousands of volunteers, so you can try to use the application to determine your own emotional health. The application measures five different types of phone interactions. Four types are associated with cognitive abilities.
The company hopes to help people who are depressed - no matter deep or relatively superficial. Of course, users may not like the idea of collecting their personal data for processing somewhere there. But company executives claim that everything is under control, information is not provided to third parties.
According to the developers, their application can be used to accurately diagnose problems with the emotional state of a person. The method is more reliable than all the others. Moreover, the diagnosis is individual, because with the same depression, someone may want to sleep all the time, and to someone, on the contrary, it is very difficult to sleep. Now a startup is going to expand the range of diagnoses that a “mobile doctor” can deliver based on an assessment of human behavior patterns. The authors of the idea believe that all of this will ultimately help much more people than they do now.