by Tim Sandle, digitaljournal.com, 10 March 2017
Pharmaceutical company Takeda and digital health tool developer Cognition Kit are to work together to see if mobile apps and wearables can help fight depression. This will include working with Apple and its smartwatch.
The two companies are interested in technology that has continuous monitoring capabilities, with a view to see if such technology can used to gain insights into depression. For the study, the companies will recruit thirty volunteers, aged between 18 to 65. Each of the subjects will have received a clinical diagnosis of mild to moderate depression. In addition each swill be taking prescribed antidepressants.
The device, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing reports, to be used in conjunction with the assessment will be the Apple watch. The watch will be pre-loaded with a new cognitive assessment app. The app has been developed by Cognition Kit, who are a British technology company.
The aim of the research is to assess how different measures of mood and cognition, using data derived from on wearable technology, compare to standard neuropsychological testing, as assessed by psychologists, together with a patient’s own reported assessments.
Depression is one of the major causes of disability worldwide. Depression affects over 350 million people. With depression, cognitive problems are often present but also under recognized by clinicians as well as patients themselves. Cognitive dysfunction refers to a spectrum of deficits in attention, verbal and nonverbal learning. In addition, problems can be experienced with short-term and working memory, visual and auditory processing, problem solving, processing speed, and motor functioning. This cognitive effect has a major impact on working people and students, since cognitive impairment affects a person’s ability to function occupationally thus the timing their return to work.
The study aims to improve upon cognitive testing and to detect and understand patterns of cognitive symptoms in patients. With this it is hoped that the newly developed Cognition Kit app will prove to be the optimal way for assessing associated symptoms away from the hospital setting. In a statement, Dr. Jenny Barnett, from Cognition Kit explains: “By combining wearable technology with world leading neuroscience, we’ve created an app that collects real time passive and active high-frequency mental health data. Being able to access data regularly from daily life can help clinical decision making. Healthcare professionals can obtain patient data and increase patient engagement in their treatment.”