Health monitoring on smartphones is one of the trending areas of development in phone apps today, but they currently can give only a limited view of what is going on with our bodies when we use them. What if there were apps to help predict far more complex health conditions?
According to NPR, researchers at the University of Michigan have co-developed an app which they are hoping can help health professionals to observe early warning signs of manic behaviour among people with Bipolar Disorder. Early identification of a patient’s behavioural shift from depressed to manic could help doctors to intervene before a patient’s behaviour becomes destructive.
The app, which is currently in testing with a number of volunteers, doesn’t use any tech wizardry or advanced phone sensors. Instead it records conversations patients have during the day and it sends the recording to the person’s doctor. The doctor can then listen to the recording and identify the calling cards of an imminent manic episode, like fast-paced speech patterns and unusual inflections.
Psychiatrist Dr Melvin McInnes is at the centre of this study and believes speech patterns can hold the key to identifying a number of different ailments, though the app is designed for use by patients with Bipolar Disorder at this stage.