Heads-up about a couple fascinating developments over the last few weeks.
1) Verily’s Bold New Project Aims to Predict Depression Using Your Phone (SingularityHub):
“Depression is a shifting, amorphous beast that silently haunts millions. It’s also difficult to pinpoint.
Psychiatry has formulated well-tested questionnaires to diagnose depression. But these tests require patients to reach out and only provide snapshots of their disorder in time … To Silicon Valley, the answer to solving depression is data. After all, most anti-depressant trials only recruit up to thousands of people. With digital health, anyone with a wrist wearable or smartphone could potentially contribute in the largest studies ever attempted by mankind. And if depressive symptoms correlate in any way to a “digital finger print”—how someone physically interacts with their smartphone, for example—these massive studies, combined with AI and sheer computing power, have the ability to find out.
The vision isn’t fantasy. Last month, Google’s former healthcare division, Verily, announced a new study seeking participants to help transform your smartphone into a mood predictor. The initiative is part of Verily’s Project Baseline, which aims to construct a “Google Earth”-esque birds-eye view of human biology in health and disease. If all goes as planned, the Mood Study could uncover “more objective measures of depression” using smartphone data from thousands of people alone.”
2) LivaNova loops Verily into depression device study (MedTechDive):
- As part of an ongoing clinical trial of its implanted vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) system in people with hard-to-treat depression, LivaNova is partnering with Verily to offer a wearable device and mobile app meant to help gather additional information on study participants’ behavior.
- Using technology and analytics developed by Google-parent Alphabet’s life sciences research organization, the goal is to “further understand depressive episodes and a patient’s response to treatment,” LivaNova said in the announcement Wednesday.
- LivaNova’s RECOVER study is part of a protocol approved by CMS for the device to be reimbursed through its coverage with evidence development pathway.
News in Context:
- Jeff Bezos invests in digital mental health pioneer Mindstrong Health
- Mindstrong Health identifies digital biomarkers of cognitive function using smartphone data
- Mixed reactions on the development of digital biomarkers and growth of Mindstrong Health
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- The FDA creates new Digital Health unit to reimagine regulatory paths in the age of scalable, AI-enhanced innovation
- Neurotechnology can improve our lives…if we first address these Privacy and Informed Consent issues
session held during the 2019 SharpBrains Virtual Summit