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National Institutes of Health Study on PTSD using Biometrics

Aug 08
“Although many people have heard of post-traumatic conditions such as posttraumatic stress (PTS), post-concussion syndrome, and depression, the onset and progression of these disorders remain poorly understood,” Verily Mental Health Data Lead Menachem Fromer and Dr. Sam McLean, director of the Institute for Trauma Recovery at University of North Carolina, wrote in a blog post on Verily’s website.

Critical gaps in the understanding of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) still hinders our ability to fully support those who have gone through a traumatic experience such as assault survivors, service men and women, and combat veterans. In an ambitious study of PTSD, the University of North Carolina is working together with Google’s Verily Life Science and MindStrong on the Aurora Study, funded by $21 million National Institutes of Health (MIH) aimed at studying the disease’s development, treatment, and progression.

Participants in the study will be monitored by various biometrics for health-tracking, smartphone apps, and traditional assessments. By using health-trackers, researchers can collect numerous variables overtime using continuous physiological data. The added value of continuous health-tracking devices and technology, together with traditionally proven assessments and measures builds a more comprehensive landscape of the disorder.

With PTSD, the disorder can be difficult to detect as humans are apt at developing various coping methods. This however, can include healthy behaviours and risky behaviours/habits. Individuals suffering from PTSD might not be aware that they haven't fully processed or worked through the experience(s) and continue to engage in risky behaviours or develop negative perspectives of themselves. In turn, PTSD can often be found comorbid with other conditions both physical and mental. Further leveraging technology such as passive biometric measurements and self-management tools can enhance the support for PTSD survivors. 

Full Article Link: http://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/verily-mindstrong-join-nih-funded-ptsd-study?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWW1Kak1tUm1PV00wTnpWaiIsInQiOiJ0NE94YUF6bzU0ZVQ5UlJDTFZTZXpDTnA1XC9laEM4ZXdjNXVRZVhrNHNkNWhGTDVGOEtYe

Kathleen Qu, M.Sc

Kathleen Qu is the Product Manager of FeelingBetterNow. She has a background in global health and policy research. She is an advocate in breaking down barriers for mental health access.