MedGizmo - MedGizmo: Brain Wearables and Applications (Part II)
29.02.2016, 11:01   MedGizmo

MedGizmo: Brain Wearables and Applications (Part II)

This is second post on the subject. The first one is MedGizmo: Brain Wearables and Applications (Part I)
In this part we briefly discuss mental health wearables – are they worth using?

We finished our last post with mental health applications. Now, it is a good time to discuss this in detail. Wearables in Healthcare opened a new way for the patients to manage their conditions – the way that was never possible with PC. And the most effective tool for this are Applications. According to market research data, in 2015 about 3 billion downloads were registered for mobile applications. And this is growing on with the growth of installed base of smartphones and tablets. New platforms are rapidly entering our life - wearables, TVs, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), home Internet of Things (IoT) and automotive. This also contributes to need for applications. On two major stores - Google Play and Apple App Store there are almost 70,000 apps within the categories Health&Fitness and Medical.

According to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics Patient Adoption of mHealth mental health apps comprise almost a third of the disease specific mHealth apps


The most commonly addressed conditions being autism, anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Alzheimer’s. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are expected to continue to rise and estimated to cost the U.S. $461 billion by 2025, more than stroke, hypertension and diabetes.  Autism apps making up the biggest category within mental health reflects a broad set of initiatives around management of autism.
IMS Institute provides this graph, that shows Mental Health applications are of relative quality:

However, the research that was recently published (and widely cited in the media) in JMIR mHealth and uHealth Magazine has these astonishing results:
Only 4% of the 700 apps identified in our search provided mindfulness training and education. Though many apps claimed to be mindfulness apps, most of them were not. While the reviewed apps scored an acceptable median MARS score, very few scored high, indicating that the quality of the apps can be improved. The lack of evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness apps needs to be addressed.

The results of research triggered many discussions, like this one:
Majority of mental health apps based on flimsy evidence, if any at all, research finds
However, the issue, in my view, relates to general situation with medical applications' – very low quality. One example: RESEARCH ARTICLE mHealth in Urology
Despite the increasing Mobile Health (mHealth) market, this is the first study that demonstrates the lack of expert participation in the design of Urology apps, particularly in apps designed
for the general public. Until clear regulation is enforced, the urological community should help regulate app development.

So, basically, despite availability of big number of mental health applications – the most viable way to treat mental health conditions – is to use professional help.

It is impossible to describe all of existing applications, however, we may offer some links to recent media, that provide advice:

That concludes the second part of our series. In the third part we plan to discuss some specific wearables for brain and mental health.
Our first post is  MedGizmo: Brain Wearables and Applications (Part I)
29.02.2016, 11:01   MedGizmo
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