Apple believes that an iPhone could detect depression, anxiety and cognitive decline using a series of digital indicators. The health data that will be used will include physical activity and proper sleep patterns.
For privacy reasons, Apple aims to perform all of these diagnostic tasks on the device without sending data to its servers.
Apple Inc. is working on technology to diagnose depression and cognitive decline, targeting tools that could expand the scope of the growing health portfolio, according to people familiar with the subject and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Data that can be used include an analysis of participants' facial expressions, the way they speak, the rhythm and frequency of their walks, sleep and heart rate, and respiration rates. They can also measure the speed of their typing, the frequency of their typographical typing and the content of what they type, according to people familiar with research and documents.
The efforts come from research announced by Apple with the University of California, Los Angeles, which studies stress, stress and depression, and the pharmaceutical company Biogen, which studies cognitive decline. "Seabreeze" is the code name for Apple for the UCLA project and "Pi" is the code name for the Biogen project.
The extent of user monitoring that may be required may raise privacy concerns. To address this, Apple is targeting algorithms that run on user devices and do not send data to Apple servers, the documents show.
Mild cognitive impairment may be an early sign of Alzheimer's.
His study UCLA which will take place this year will monitor the data of 3.000 volunteers, while Biogen aims to recruit about 20.000 people to participate in the next two years, about half of whom will have risk factors for cognitive impairment.
The article emphasizes that this project is at a very early stage and may fail. While it is well known that things like depression lead to different smartphone usage patterns, the challenge is to create algorithms which are reliable enough to accurately diagnose specific conditions.
Although the effort is at an early stage, top Apple executives are excited about the possibility. CEO Jeff Williams, who oversees Apple Health, spoke to excitement to employees about the company's ability to cope with rising rates of depression and stress as well as other brain disorders, according to people who heard him talk about the effort.
Source of information: 9to5mac.com