iPhones Could Detect Autism, Depression, Cognitive Decline One Day


A report on Tuesday claims that Apple is working on technology that could help iPhones detect your depression, autism, and general cognitive decline (via WSJ).

Mental Health on iPhone

Researchers would use data such as physical activity, mobility, sleep patterns, typing behavior, and other data points detected with algorithms. Apple has partnerships with the University of California to study “stress, anxiety and depression.” and pharmaceutical company Biogen to study “mild cognitive impairment.”

Apple’s current health efforts focus on the Apple Watch, but rumors claim some health features could make their way to AirPods, and with this report—iPhone.

One thought on “iPhones Could Detect Autism, Depression, Cognitive Decline One Day

  • Andrew:

    There is a great deal of work taking place in the health research community on using machine learning/AI to detect a number of physical, metabolic, neuro-degenerative and cognitive disorders. Many of these could readily be ported to a modestly sensor-enhanced or even present-day Apple Watch, once these algorithms achieve an acceptable balance of sensitivity and specificity per target illness category. 

    The benefit is that this will preserve privacy (assuming that any third party apps are not sharing these data) whilst empowering the individual (and their loved ones) to know, hopefully relatively early on and with reasonable certainty, that they need to seek professional intervention. 

    One of the most critical factors in successful therapeutic interventions remains timely health seeking behaviour, with benefit directly correlating with earlier health seeking. 

    Good stuff. 

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