Home Health The iPhone will be able to diagnose depression and mental illness by the way we use it

The iPhone will be able to diagnose depression and mental illness by the way we use it

by admin

Editorial board
September 26, 2021 2:38 pm

A mobile phone that is able to recognize our emotions and diagnose any mental illnesses only from the way we write. It may seem like an episode of Black Mirror, but instead this innovation could soon become a reality. The new Apple project, in collaboration with the University of California (UCLA) and the pharmaceutical company Biogen, promises to recognize anxiety, depression and certain cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, from the way we use our smartphones.


The giant created by Steve Jobs emphasizes the importance of research by explaining that future functionality could play a very important preventive function and that projects like this are fundamental in a historical period in which mental disorders are increasing exponentially. Once the diagnosis is made, the device should be able to warn the user of his condition and prompt him to contact a specialist. But there are several different concerns related to privacy and the processing of personal data, to which Apple has responded by promising that the algorithm will keep all information only on the device without any external sharing.


As the Times says, in order to be able to make the diagnosis, the device will have to collect a series of data. For example, with regard to anxiety and depression, the phone will collect those related to the facial expressions of the participants in the experiment, the way they speak, the rhythm and frequency of their walks, sleep patterns and their heart and respiratory rate. . In addition, data related to typing speed, the frequency of typing errors and the content of what you write will be collected. In this phase of the experimentation, the University of California is trying to understand if there is a real correlation between these data and the moods of the volunteers. To do this, a series of questionnaires about their emotions are administered simultaneously to the data recorded by the iPhone.

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Detect Alzheimer’s

Biogen is instead experimenting with the tracking of cognitive function and its evolution over time, by doing so it should be able to detect any cognitive impairment, a condition that can develop with Alzheimer’s. The company will then compare the results with those of traditional cognitive assessments and plaque buildup plates in the brain. The pharmaceutical company, a leader in Alzheimer’s research, this year marketed a drug that would be able to stop the disease in its early stages, the drug in question has an annual cost of 56 thousand dollars.


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