/Want to know your mental health status? There’s an app for that

Want to know your mental health status? There’s an app for that

Illustration source: Cu-Boulder

Summary: Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, computers can now assist doctors in diagnosing disease and help monitor patient sleep patterns and vital signs from hundreds of miles away.

Original author and publication date: Lisa Marshall – November 12, 2019

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Soon (very soon), artificial intelligence will know more about ourselves than we can even hope to know about ourselves. Soon (very soon), we will be manipulated without even knowing it.

From the article:

CU Boulder researchers are working to apply machine learning to psychiatry, with a speech-based mobile app that can categorize a patient’s mental health status as well as or better than a human can.

“We are not in any way trying to replace clinicians,” says Peter Foltz, a research professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science and co-author of a new paper in Schizophrenia Bulletin that lays out the promise and potential pitfalls of AI in psychiatry. “But we do believe we can create tools that will allow them to better monitor their patients.”

Nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness, many in remote areas where access to psychiatrists or psychologists is scarce. Others can’t afford to see a clinician frequently, don’t have time or can’t get in to see one.

Even when a patient does make it in for an occasional visit, therapists base their diagnosis and treatment plan largely on listening to a patient talk – an age-old method that can be subjective and unreliable, notes paper co-author Brita Elvevåg, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

“Humans are not perfect. They can get distracted and sometimes miss out on subtle speech cues and warning signs,” Elvevåg says. “Unfortunately, there is no objective blood test for mental health.”

Language a window into mental health
In pursuit of an AI version of that blood test, Elvevåg and Foltz teamed up to develop machine learning technology able to detect day-to-day changes in speech that hint at mental health decline.

For instance, disjointed speech—sentences that don’t follow a logical pattern—can be a critical symptom in schizophrenia. Shifts in tone or pace can hint at mania or depression. And memory loss can be a sign of both cognitive and mental health problems.

“Language is a critical pathway to detecting patient mental states,” says Foltz. “Using mobile devices and AI, we are able to track patients daily and monitor these subtle changes.”

The new mobile app asks patients to answer a 5- to 10-minute series of questions by talking into their phone.

READ the complete original story here.