Diagnosing Mental Health Disorders

Diagnosing and treating mental illness remains stubbornly imprecise and relies primarily on a clinician’s observations and a patient’s self-reporting, according to Andrea Webb PhD, Principal Scientist at Draper Webb https://www.draper.com, a company developing tools for diagnosing mental health disorders. She reports, “Today, a new tool is being developed by the company and we hope the tool will give us a better understanding of how patients respond to treatments for mental health.”

Backed by decades of research, Webb and her team initially set out to develop a wearable device capable of monitoring a patient’s heart rate, skin sweating, respiration, and pupil diameter. They are analyzing the data obtained with a set of algorithms to identify patterns that could help clinical care providers with screening, diagnosing, and treatment monitoring.

Today, the device “System with Sensors to Evaluate Mental Disorders” or referred to as (SysteMD), has been validated in pilot studies for PTSD and depression. SysteMD when produced will have a headset, wristbands and an ankle band, capable of sensing changes in a patient’s physiological and biological systems. The new system shows promise for addressing mental health conditions, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal tendencies. Draper’s plans are to develop, implement, and commercialize SysteMD.”

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