Posted by: Roger King
Help for people suffering from depression.
I have a friend who is working on his Ph.D. in clinical psychology. He’s been studying a fascinating application of cell phone-based data management and mining. It has to do with using cell phones to monitor the moods and behaviors of people with bi-polar depression. This research started at Oxford University.
It works like this.
Patients (actually, he calls them clients) are issued smart phones. Each client periodically receives a text message telling them to fill out a brief survey. The goal is to get a real-time measure of the client’s bouts of mania and depression.
The underlying assumption is that clients tend to give very inaccurate answers if they are questioned after the fact, perhaps at the end of a day or week. By getting results in real time during the day and night, the psychologist can far more accurately diagnose the client’s illness and provide effective treatment.
An uplift for clients.
And, simply by being actively involved in their own medical care, clients are emotionally bolstered.
Early research results indicate that there is a high level of compliance – of people filling out the electronic surveys in a timely fashion. This should be especially true for most young patients, to whom texting is already a part of their daily lives.
Mining the data.
The collected data is processed and graphs are automatically generated and made available to the clinician. Patterns are detected and the hope is that triggers for mania and depression can identified.
It is anticipated that the same technique could also improve the diagnosis and treatment of people with schizophrenia and personality disorders, and for people with addictions to alcohol and other substances, as well as for people with eating disorders.
Sounds exciting to me.