Scrolling to Diagnose Mental Illness

A startup in California, Mindstrong Health is using scrolling, clicking, and phone interaction data to determine the risk of mental illness.

Founded by 3 doctors, it is seeking to tackle depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.


Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/mindful-scrolling

The App “monitors how every participant types, swipes and interacts with every other app on their phone (just basic stuff like how they use their keyboard, rather than looking at any personal information). The data gathered is then encrypted and run through a machine learning programme, which analyses it and delivers the results to the patient and their medical provider.”

One of the reasons the app works is, “‘people’s memory patterns and thinking speed change in subtle ways before they realise they’re depressed.’” The app was developed after trial participants were asked to perform neuropsychological tests and then asked to use their phone normally. This allowed them to find key smartphone signals that correlate strongly with mental performance.

Memory problems, for example, are a common element of brain disorders, and can be identified by looking at how quickly you type or scroll, as well as how many errors you make.

Our state of mind is top of mind in 2018 as more conversations are being had about mental health, so much so that even KFC participated in World Mindfulness day.

Why it’s hot: 

It’s difficult to diagnose mental illness because the symptoms sometimes differ from patient to patient. Mindstrong could provide data that helps define the different subcategories within illnesses and could even help lead to tailoring drug prescriptions for more effective treatment.