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Apps To Help Monitor Mood Swings

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Dozens of smartphone apps can help monitor your mood, but all require you to manually record how you feel, which can be hard to do accurately and consistently. Now researchers are working on a new type of app that can automatically track a personís moods by recording and analyzing trends in conversations, movements or other activities.

One new mood app, Priori, monitors a personís mood by recording his or her phone calls. It analyzes subtle characteristics of the callerís speech patterns for signs of the start of a mood episode: Frequent long pauses might indicate depression, and loud, fast speech could be a hallmark of a manic mood. In a pilot study of six people with bipolar disorder, Priori was able to distinguish manic or depressed moods based on an analysis of a personís speech. A larger study of this app is under way.

Researchers are also studying similar apps designed to help patients with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses by monitoring their speech, movements, locations and/or sleep patterns. They hope that doctors will eventually be able to use this information to adjust treatment by predicting, for example, when a person with bipolar disorder is at risk for experiencing a manic or depressive episode so their medication can be changed accordingly.

So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates medical devices, has largely taken a hands-off approach to these types of apps. The FDA is focusing instead on apps that transform a personís phone into a traditional medical device, such as an electrocardiography (ECG) machine to detect abnormal heart rhythms.†

Posted in Depression and Anxiety on March 9, 2016


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Health After 50 Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the editors cannot be answered in this space.

The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Scientific American Health After 50 or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.


U.S. govt. could create a separate agency for Biomedical Engineering Devices Admin.(BEDA) for this fast developing field instead of burdening the FDA. Also funding for R&D from all possible sources.

Posted by: ask5 | March 9, 2016 12:25 PM

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Scientific American White Papers

The focus of the 2016 Depression and Anxiety White Paper is on understanding and successfully coping with the most common mood and anxiety disorders.

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