Herworld (Singapore)



Nanyang Technologi­cal University (NTU) scientists have developed a predictive computer programme that can detect those who are at risk of depression. Using data from wearable technology, researcher­s have conducted trials on 290 working adults in Singapore, who wore Fitbit Charge 2 trackers continuous­ly over 14 days and completed two health surveys that screened for depression.

The programme, dubbed the Ycogni model, analyses one’s physical activity, sleep patterns and circadian rhythms from tracking steps, heart rate, energy expenditur­e and sleep. Research so far has shown an accuracy of 80 per cent in screening individual­s who either have a high or no risk of depression.

Associate professor Georgios Christopou­los, who co-led the study, says such advances in digital health could transform the way mental health is perceived and treated.

“It can help people understand that mental health is tightly connected with their body and daily activities. It could also help detect early symptoms related to mental health, which could nudge one to take action earlier.

“We do not suggest that everyone should go to the psychother­apist, but we do suggest that sometimes, there are issues that are ignored or postponed. Each of us is different, and by having such personal data we could design interventi­ons that match the specific person.”

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