Apple is developing iPhone features to detect depression and cognitive decline


In an effort to expand iPhones’ ability to detect health issues, Apple has teamed up with the University of California, Los Angeles for a mental health study and drugmaker Biogen for a study focused on decline. cognitive, said sources familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal.

The news reports that Apple’s health unit is looking to launch condition detection features in the company’s flagship iPhone. Here are five things to know about projects:

  1. Apple’s code name for the UCLA project is “Seabreeze”. In fall 2020, researchers studied signs of stress, anxiety, and depression in a pilot phase by tracking Apple Watch and iPhone data from 150 people. This year, the project will move into a main phase of tracking similar data for 3,000 people.
  2. Seabreeze researchers track data from the iPhone’s video camera, keyboard, and audio sensors. From the Apple Watch, they track data related to movements, vital signs and sleep. The data can be used to analyze participants’ facial expressions, gaits, speech patterns, sleep patterns, heart rates, and breathing rates. It can also be used to measure typing speed, frequency of typos, and the content of what they type.
  3. If Seabreeze researchers find the data correlates with mental health issues, Apple could roll out a feature warning iPhone and Apple Watch users they may be at risk and urging them to seek treatment.
  4. Apple’s code name for its project with Biogen is “Pi”. The companies are working together on a two-year study aimed at including around 2,000 participants, half of whom are at high risk for cognitive impairment. Pi researchers will use data from the device, similar to Seabreeze researchers, to track signs of mild cognitive impairment.
  5. Apple will compare data from Pi to standard brain health tests. The hope is that Apple can roll out a feature to detect mild cognitive impairment early and prompt users to seek treatment.
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