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Smartphones: Depression Diagnosed by New Device Software

Image: Smartphones: Depression Diagnosed by New Device Software
Smartphones can help diagnose depression, say researchers behind a new scientific study. (Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 17 Jul 2015 01:41 PM

Smartphones can help diagnose depression, say researchers behind a new scientific study.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), found that people who showed symptoms of depression used their phones at much higher rates than people who didn't have them. The daily average for depressed individuals was 68 minutes per day, while those with no symptoms only clocked 17 minutes a day.

GPS data also revealed much about those showing signs of depression.

For example, people who spent most of their time at home were correlated with those who showed symptoms of depression. But, go too far in the other direction, and links to depression also appear, as those with highly irregular schedules were also correlated with symptoms of depression.

"The data showing depressed people tended not to go many places reflects the loss of motivation seen in depression," said lead author Sohrob Saeb, a computer scientist in preventive medicine the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "When people are depressed, they tend to withdraw and don’t have the motivation or energy to go out and do things."

According to CBS News, Saeb was optimistic about the study, because collecting the data required little effort on the participant's part.

"We now have an objective measure of behavior related to depression. And we’re detecting it passively. Phones can provide data unobtrusively and with no effort on the part of the user," he added.

After setting up a software program on the phone, the data collections happens all by itself, and participants simply take a questionnaire about depression beforehand.

 


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Smartphones can help diagnose depression, say researchers behind a new scientific study.
smartphones, depression, study, diagnosed
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2015-41-17
Friday, 17 Jul 2015 01:41 PM
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