Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Therapist in Your Pocket

From: Northwestern University NewsCenter - 02/07/2012
By: Marla Paul

New smart phone, a virtual therapist, and other novel technologies to treat

Brooding in your apartment on Saturday afternoon? A new smartphone intuits
when you're depressed and will nudge you to call or go out with friends. It's
the future of therapy at a new Feinberg center where scientists are inventing
Web-based, mobile and virtual technologies to treat depression and other mood

Northwestern University researchers are developing Web-based, mobile, and
virtual technologies to treat depression and other mood disorders. Examples
include a virtual human therapist who will work with teens to prevent
depression, a medicine bottle that reminds the user to take antidepressant
medication and alerts the doctor if the dosage needs adjusting, and a
Web-based social network to help cancer survivors relieve sadness and stress.
Northwestern's Mobilyze! smartphone application offers support for people who
have depression and intervenes to help them change their behavior. The smart
medicine bottle is part of the MedLink system, which includes a mobile app
that monitors the patient's depressive symptoms and any medical side effects
and will provide specific advice to manage problems. The virtual therapist is
being developed with University of Southern California researchers. The
therapist will role-play with adolescents and adults to teach social and
assertiveness skills to prevent and treat depression. The researchers note
that Web-based content to help cancer survivors manage stress and depression
is more effective when a human coach checks in on their progress via a phone
call or email.

Read the entire article at:

David Mohr

Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies

Darren Gergle

Northwestern University Department of Behavioral Medicine