he is reportedly working on ways to detect and diagnose conditions such as depression, anxiety and cognitive decline using an iPhone. Researchers hope that analysis of data, such as mobility, sleep patterns and how people type, can see behaviors related to the conditions, according to .
Other measurements may include facial expression analysis and cardiac and respiratory rates. All processing will take place on the device without any data being sent to Apple servers.
The company is working on research projects that could lead to the development of these features. The University of California, Los Angeles is studying stress, anxiety and depression, with Apple Watch and iPhone data for 3,000 volunteers being followed in a study starting this year. In a pilot phase that began in 2020, data from 150 participants were recorded.
Researchers will compare the data obtained from the iPhone and Watch sensors with the participants in the questionnaires completed according to their report. They are also said to measure the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the hair follicles of the participants. Apple and UCLA in August 2020.
Another research project is underway, which may play a role in this Apple project. The company and pharmaceutical firm Biogen said in January they were working on a two-year study to monitor cognitive function and possibly detect mild cognitive impairment, which could potentially lead to Alzheimer’s. The plan is to track down about 20,000 participants, about half of whom are at high risk for cognitive impairment.
If data from the studies match symptoms of depression or anxiety, Apple may use it to create a feature that alerts users if they see signs of a mental health condition. The iPhone can encourage users to seek care, which can be important as early detection can improve long-term quality of life.
Apple and its partners are in the early stages of this work, so it will probably be a few years before the company adds mental health monitoring features to the iPhone. There is no guarantee that the research will not lead to such functions at all.
Some previous studies have shown that people with certain conditions use devices differently than other people. It is not yet clear if developers can build algorithms that can reliably and accurately detect mental health conditions.
Yet there is no smoke without fire. Health has been at Apple for the past few years, so there’s a chance that features based on this research will eventually appear.
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