The Journal of mHealth Vol 2 Issue 4 (August) - Page 21

Industry News Your Smartphone Knows If You’re Depressed Time spent on smartphone and GPS location sensor data detect depression You can fake a smile, but your phone knows the truth. Depression can be detected from your smartphone sensor data by tracking the number of minutes you use the phone and your daily geographical locations, reports a small Northwestern Medicine study. The more time you spend using your phone, the more likely you are depressed. The average daily usage for depressed individuals was about 68 minutes, while for non-depressed individuals it was about 17 minutes. Spending most of your time at home and most of your time in fewer locations -as measured by GPS tracking – are also linked to depression, as is, having a less regular day-to-day schedule. Based on the phone sensor data, Northwestern scientists could identify people with depressive symptoms with 87 per cent accuracy. “The significance of this is we can detect if a person has depressive symptoms and the severity of those symptoms without asking them any questions,” said senior author David Mohr, director of the Centre for Behavioural Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We now have an objective measure of behaviour related to depression. And we’re detecting it passively. Phones can provide data unobtrusively and with no effort on the part of the user.” The research could ultimately lead to monitoring people at risk of depression and enabling health care providers to intervene more quickly. The smart phone data was proven to be more reliable in detecting depression than having participants answer daily questions about how sad they were feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. “Their answers may be ro H[