Mindstrong Health Identifies Digital Biomarkers of Cognitive Function in NPJ Digital Medicine Study
Palo Alto, CA – March 28, 2018 – Mindstrong Health, a company transforming the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, announced today that Nature Partner Journal (NPJ) Digital Medicine has published the first peer-reviewed paper to show digital biomarkers of cognitive function can be identified using the company’s proprietary technology. The paper identified digital biomarkers that could predict performance on gold-standard neurocognitive tests.
“We believe that digital biomarkers are the foundation for measurement-based mental health care, for which there is a massive unmet patient need. To provide better mental health care, we need better ways to measure cognitive function and brain health that are quantitative, reproducible, continuous and objective. We are excited to share publicly what we have known privately for some time,” said study author, Mindstrong Health founder and CEO Dr. Paul Dagum.
Smartphone users touch and interact with their devices thousands of times each day, engaging in complex actions and gestures such as typing messages, scrolling or swiping through lists, and making selections—what the company calls human-computer interactions. These are complex cognitive activities whose timing and sequencing are modelled using Mindstrong technology in a way that correlates closely with the current standard measures of cognitive function—without logging or analyzing the contents of the device, user messages, geolocation or media.
“The traditional measures of mental health are patient self-assessments or clinician-administered questionnaires. They have relatively low inter-rater reliability, and don’t assess patients in real world settings. Mood and cognitive function vary widely from day to day and during the day, and are subject to a range of environmental factors. Real-time, continuous, ecological measurements of the kind we are identifying are key for enabling a new outpatient care model for mental health patients,” said Mindstrong co-founder and President Dr. Tom Insel.
Mindstrong-identified digital biomarkers correlate with measures of traditional cognitive domains such as executive function, working and short-term memory, language fluency and dexterity. Results support the idea that digital biomarkers can serve as proxies for traditional measures of these functions and signal when cognitive functions worsen. Other studies have shown correlations between Mindstrong’s digital biomarkers and mood.
Participants in the study first completed a comprehensive, three-hour neurocognitive assessment administered by a psychometrician. Following the assessment, the participants consented to having the Mindstrong app installed on their phones. For the study, Mindstrong app passively collected human-computer interaction data, GPS, sensor and sociality data such as daily volume of email, SMS and phone calls. The study collected a year’s worth of data and showed that while GPS, sensor and sociality data in the study population revealed very little, human-computer interaction data showed robust correlations with current gold-standard tests of cognitive function. Further, the study showed that these correlations could be established based on seven days of user-device interaction data. Mindstrong focuses on content-free human-computer interaction data in its current product development efforts.
About Mindstrong Health
Mindstrong Health is redefining the management and treatment of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders with technology to measure brain function continuously from human-computer interactions on ubiquitous mobile devices. The company is based in Palo Alto, California and is backed by Foresite Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Optum Ventures, Berggruen Holdings and One Mind Brain Health Impact Fund. To learn more about Mindstrong Health, visit www.mindstrong.com