FitTech Magazine Issue 4 2/2021

Page 82

Research

mental health anomalies

Monitoring mental health New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers

R

esearchers at Texas A&M University have

Non-intrusive sensors in wearable technologies

developed a smart-device based electronic

such as smartwatches are used together with

platform to help patients manage their

advanced machine learning and data analytics

mental health between appointments.

techniques to detect patterns associated with mental

The technology continuously monitors

health anomalies. In addition, novel technologies such

the patient’s state of hyperarousal, which is one of the signs of psychological distress. The platform can read facial cues, analyse voice

as facial and voice sentiment analysis are utilised. The platform provides a suite of therapeutic tools, such as breathing exercises, mindfulness,

patterns and integrate readings from built-in vital

community support, telecare, automated

signs sensors on smartwatches to determine if a

messages and location sharing.

patient is feeling anxious or depressed. The technology not only enables patients to better manage their mental health, it could also allow

Game changing technology

Results from initial testing of the technology suggest

medical providers and counsellors to monitor how

a high level of acceptance, adoption and compliance

their patient is tracking.

among users. There was also a high level of perceived accuracy for the detected events.

Gap in services

“I think this technology will be a game-changer,”

Dr. Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor in the

said Dr Sasangohar, “since it not only raises mental

Wm Michael Barnes ‘64 Department of Industrial

health awareness and keeps users in the loop

and Systems Engineering, explained: “The platform

about their current state, but it also provides timely

was inspired by our previous work on monitoring

intervention to deal with acute issues, preventing

hyperarousal events among combat veterans.

them from becoming chronic.

We identified a twofold gap in providing mental

“I firmly believe the future of mental health

healthcare: firstly, underutilisation of mental health

care belongs to self-management technologies.

services, potentially due to emotional numbness and

Technology can play a big role in feeding providers

stigma; and secondly, lack of monitoring capabilities

with key objective information related to mental

in between therapeutic sessions. The platform is our

health and by providing timely, discreet and on-

contribution to address these gaps.”

demand therapeutic interventions.” ●

82 fittechglobal.com

2 2021

Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

The platform detects patterns associated with