UCLA on Tuesday said it is launching a three-year study to better understand how factors such as sleep, physical activity, heart rate and daily routines impact symptoms of depression and anxiety.
UCLA is working with Apple to design the study, which will use data collected by the iPhone, Apple Watch and Beddit sleep-tracker … involves 150 participants recruited from among UCLA Health patients. From there, the next phases of the research will expand out to 3,000 participants from both the hospital and the student body. Study participants will download an app onto their iPhones, then receive a Beddit sleep monitor and an Apple Watch, which they can use throughout the study.
… Outside of Apple and UCLA, there’s a growing interest in tapping into the data gleaned from smartphones and wearable devices — so-called “digital exhaust” — to determine how people are faring. For instance, companies like Mindstrong Health are looking into whether changes in how people type into a keyboard app can provide early insight into their mental health status.
The three-year study, which begins this week, was co-designed by researchers at UCLA and Apple to obtain objective measures of factors such as sleep, physical activity, heart rate and daily routines to illuminate the relationship between these factors and symptoms of depression and anxiety … The study is the latest milestone for the Depression Grand Challenge, an ambitious UCLA initiative involving researchers from across disciplines to identify genetic and environmental factors that contribute to depression, understand the biological changes that depression causes in the brain and body, accelerate progress in diagnosis and treatment and end the stigma associated with the disorder. UCLA chose to take on this challenge because depression afflicts more than 300 million people worldwide, resulting in nearly 1 million suicides a year…
Freimer (Note: Dr. Nelson Freimer, director of the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge) emphasizes that ensuring the privacy and security of study participants’ data is a high priority for both UCLA and Apple. UCLA will process and maintain study data in a secure environment, with access limited to members of the UCLA research team. UCLA and Apple will analyze the data only after they are coded and stripped of names and other contact information.
The Study in Context:
- Apple/ Eli Lilly’s bet: Wearable and mobile consumer devices may well help us detect cognitive impairment and dementia
- The FDA creates new Digital Health unit to reimagine regulatory paths in the age of scalable, AI-enhanced innovation
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- Mindstrong Health identifies digital biomarkers of cognitive function using smartphone data
- Neurotechnology can improve our lives…if we first address these Privacy and Informed Consent issues