Depressed? Smartphones Can Detect It

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Marji_160715_4According to new research published in The Journal of Medical Research, smartphones can now be used to detect if a person is suffering from depression—with 87% accuracy.

Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago used an app called “Purple Robot” to gather specific information from participants using smartphones.

There were 40 participants selected for the study but only 28 were selected for the data analysis. At the beginning of the study, each participant completed an online questionnaire that consisted of demographic questions, as well as a Patient Health Questionnaire-9—which is used to measure how critical an individual’s depressive symptoms are.

The Purple Robot tracked GPS locations and phone usage of the selected participants for two weeks.  Researchers discovered that those who showed signs of depression typically used their phone three times more compared to non-depressed participants. On average, depressed individuals used their phones for 68 minutes per day, compared with 17 minutes per day for non-depressed individuals.

Depressed participants also tended to stay at home and travel to fewer locations compared to non-depressed participants.

Study researchers are hopeful that these findings could assist with monitoring people who are at risk of depression and allow health care providers to act more quickly.

Source for Today’s Article:
Lam, P., “Smartphones can now detect if you are depressed,” Medical News Today web site, July 16, 2015;