iPhones may soon detect depression, autism, and cognitive decline: report

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The feature will reportedly use extensive personal data collected by sensors on Apple devices like iPhones and Apple Watches

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“Siri, am I sad?”

Apple is working on features designed to detect depression. Worry, autism, and cognitive decline that can develop into Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, according to a Tuesday Report in the Wall Street Journal.

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Features of depression and cognitive decline will reportedly use extensive personal data collected by sensors on Apple devices like iPhones and Apple Watches, including users’ sleep patterns, physical activity, typing behavior and more.

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Apple is reportedly making efforts with researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, who are studying stress, anxiety and depression. According to the Journal, the tech giant is also collaborating with drugmaker Biogen Inc., which is studying cognitive decline.

A third reported collaboration, with Duke University, uses the iPhone’s camera to observe the physical behavior of young children and help detect autism.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

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The projects are reportedly still in the early research stages, and it is unclear whether they will ever lead to a product that is offered to the public.

Apple’s alleged efforts have come as a growing body of research in recent years suggests that the use of the company’s own devices may contribute to mental health issues.

A 2019 study by University of Arizona researchers met Smartphone dependence among 18- to 20-year-olds “predicts higher reports of depressive symptoms and loneliness.” A 2017 paper by researchers from San Diego and Florida State Has shown Heavy use of smartphones and social media among adolescents was associated with higher rates of mental health issues and suicide.

Still, Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who heads the company’s health unit, “enthusiastically” told employees that the company has the potential to help address rising rates of anxiety and depression, sources told the Journal. Told.

Any effort by Apple to address mental health issues will inevitably raise privacy issues for some users — and the company has already received calls from privacy advocates this year about plans to scan users’ images for child pornography. has suffered, causing Apple to postpone and modify. Speciality.

To address privacy concerns, Apple’s algorithms will work locally on users’ devices rather than sending data to the company, according to documents reviewed by the Journal.

Biogen, the company that is reportedly collaborating with Apple to detect signs of cognitive decline, is behind a controversial $56,000-a-year Alzheimer’s drug Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June. External advisors to the FDA raised concerns that the drug was ineffective and even criticized the FDA’s own staff, calling it overwhelmingly positive reviews.

To read more from the New York Post, Click here.


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