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A new initiative is aiming to use technologies such as smartphones and smartwatches to detect subtle changes in behavior and help individuals better monitor and manage their behavioral health issues.

Since these issues such as depression and bipolar disorder don’t show themselves with outward symptoms and can’t be easily detected, this could enable doctors to leverage smart devices and Artificial intelligence (AI) to better monitor and manage the behavioral health of the patients, per a press release.

A new, AI-driven era

Cornell University’s Tanzeem Choudhury launched the Precision Behavioral Health Initiative to guide mobile health into a new, AI-driven era. This way, bridges could be built between the current gaps in accurate measurement, customized intervention, and clinical impact.

The initiative aims to have “precision technology” like smartphones and smartwatches and other sensing IoT gadgets continuously and accurately monitor the signs of mental changes that manifest in behaviors.

“There’s a lot of cool technology out there and really innovative sensors and home devices that can understand users and user behavior,” Choudhury stated in the press release.

Identifying early-intervention treatments

“The challenge for the initiative is, how to take this volume of user data and interpret it into meaningful health metrics to be used by doctors and clinicians to understand patients’ mental health and provide the best treatments?” she continued.

While there are numerous apps out there that aim to assist people in mental-health monitoring, they are rarely validated by clinicians and don’t deliver behavioral data to doctors, Choudhury stated. AI systems can shoulder a lot of work here by looking for patterns or irregularities in the behavioral data and clue users and their doctors in possible needed treatments.

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This initiative could be especially important for those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, Choudhury says. With AI providing the needed data, they could benefit highly from early-intervention treatments.

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