Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Wearable devices offer exciting opportunities to longitudinally detect and track multi-modal stress and symptoms of disease in an objective and unobtrusive way.

Image shows silhouette of the top half a human body with the heart and brain highlighted.

The potential and emerging opportunities involving digital technology, stress and disease are highlighted in the article: Unlocking stress and forecasting its consequences with digital technology, which was published in the Nature Partner Journal, Digital Medicine, July 2019.

The availability and capabilities of digital devices have exploded in recent years. Smart phones, watches, rings, vests, scales, patches and even eyeglasses can produce different types of physiological data reflecting measures of the autonomic nervous stress system and objective digital biomarkers relating to activity patterns, daily routines, cognition, speech patterns, eye movements, and social activity.

The big data from these connected devices holds huge promise in discerning processes leading to disease. One of the major underpinnings of disease is stress, yet little progress in uncovering how it produces end stage illnesses such as acute episodes of major depression, flares in irritable bowel disease and symptoms or cardiac events has been made. 

 

Exposure to stress and individual reactions to stress are complex, fluid and dynamic. Until recently, we have had little means to measure, and discern the complexity associated with individual stress responses, and how these responses forecast disease.Sarah Goodday, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford.

 

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will be needed to translate the large volumes of data coming from digital devices and to decipher the complex inter and intra individual variation in stress and how it forecasts end stage illness. With the help of AI these tools could return signs of stress and early warning signs to individuals, offering personalised health management systems. 

 

 

 

 

 

The clinimetric properties of most wearable technologies is unknown, as well as, their capabilities for detecting early symptoms and stress.
Authors of the paper.

The market for wearable devices continues to saturate, outlining the importance of focusing efforts on large scale feasibility studies across different patient populations. Once the feasibility of using these digital tools to detect and track stress is established, these approaches offer real potential for pathways towards individualised care.

 

To read the full paper.

 

NIHR OXFORD HEALTH BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTRE NEWS

Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.

Similar stories

Risk of Death Doubled in Patients with Chronic Disease and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders

A new study led by Professor Seena Fazel at the University of Oxford found that among patients with chronic, non-communicable diseases, the risk of death is more than doubled if they also have a psychiatric disease.

Ethics in Mental Health Digital Innovations for Young People in Africa: Digital Campaign

This campaign was led by a team of 29 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and a Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG) across five African countries. The young people wanted to share contextual and accessible information on digital mental health and ethical issues that are important to them.

How Mindfulness May Improve Body Satisfaction and Mood

New research from Emma Osborne, Research Assistant at the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders (CREDO) at the University of Oxford (and PhD Candidate at the University of Bath), and Dr Melissa Atkinson, University of Bath, investigated two ways in which mindfulness might improve body satisfaction and mood.

Review Highlights Risk Factors Associated with Violence in Schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

New Study will Investigate Brain Fog Symptoms in Post-Hospitalised COVID-19 Patients

C-Fog is a collaborative new study led by Oxford University researcher, Dr Maxime Taquet, which will investigate the reasons why brain fog or cognition problems affect patients after COVID-19 infection. With a better understanding of the mechanisms involved it may be possible to understand how to treat brain fog and help many thousands of people worldwide.

A New Experimental Study Investigated the Effects of Atorvastatin on Emotional Processing

Atorvastatin is one of a group of statins widely used to treat heart and blood vessel diseases. The medication works by lowering cholesterol in the blood. This new study shows that atorvastatin influences the way people experience certain emotions, giving us important insights about disorders such as anxiety and depression.