Apple wants to use its devices to diagnose depression

Apple wants to use its devices to diagnose depression

The company has started research projects to develop algorithms that help detect cognitive and mood disorders early on, but privacy issues are around the corner

Photo: via Unsplash Apple continues to focus on health. The Cupertino-based company wants to detect signs of depression, anxiety and cognitive decline in its users based on how they use their iPhone.

Apple is working in partnership with researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles, (UCLA) engaged in a study on stress, anxiety and depression, and with the pharmaceutical company Biogen that is taking an interest in cognitive decline. UCLA's research began with a pilot phase last fall where data from Apple Watches and iPhones of 150 people are monitored and will continue this year with a main phase that will analyze similar data from another 3,000 people.

The researchers will track data from the iPhone's camera, keyboard, and audio sensors, as well as Apple Watch data for movement, vital signs and sleep, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the data that can be used there are also facial expressions, the way you speak, the pace of walking, heart and respiratory rate, but also the speed of typing, any typos and the content of a text .

Researchers, in this way "hope to be able to detect the digital signals associated with these clinical conditions" writes the Journal, in order to create algorithms that can help to reliably detect health problems and be driving new functions for Apple devices.

Academic studies have already shown that people with certain mental health conditions use their digital devices differently than others, but it remains to be seen whether reliable algorithms can be created to detect a disease based on behavior . These are studies at an early stage, but if such algorithms were to be really implemented they could signal early on cognitive and mood disorders, preventing these pathologies from worsening.

The moment seems propitious for a novelty of the especially due to an increase in mental disorders due to the covid-19 pandemic, but Apple's project could generate privacy concerns, given that it should rely on extensive user monitoring. According to documents seen by the WSJ, however, Apple would point to algorithms that will work locally on phones without sending data to the company's servers.

Apple has already recently been at the center of criticism for a function that allows the company to detect and report material known to be child sexual abuse to law enforcement agencies. Although the company defended the function, it has been temporarily suspended for further information.

App - 3 hours ago

iOs 15, Safari's address bar at the bottom doesn't like it: here's how to move it

Rules and challenges for digital health

Can a minor get vaccinated against Covid-19 without parental approval?


Apple iPhone Privacy Health globalData.fldTopic = "Apple, iPhone, Privacy, Health"

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Powered by Blogger.