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Medicine Technology

Smartphones To Monitor Schizophrenics 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-the-phone-watching-me? dept.
the_newsbeagle writes Psychiatrists have realized that they can collect vast amounts of data about their patients using smartphone apps that passively monitor the patients as they go about their daily business. A prototype for schizophrenia patients is being tested out now on Long Island. The Crosscheck trial will look at behavior patterns (tracking movement, sleep, and conversations) and correlate them with the patient's reports of symptoms and moods; researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a patient who is about relapse and therefore needs help.
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Smartphones To Monitor Schizophrenics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:35AM (#47279879)

    Maybe we should have explained to psychiatrists that Is The Government Spying On Schizophrenics Enough? [youtube.com] was a joke, not a roadmap.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They are psychiatrists and yet oblivious to their own word choice pyschology.

    researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a patient who is about relapse and therefore needs help.

    These people are still human beings with dignity aren't they? or are they just diseased chattled to be mitigated?
    How about:

    researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a patient who is possibly experiencing symptoms and therefore might want help.

    If they understood anything about the patients they are supposedly helping, they would know that your attitude and intentions makes a big damn difference.

    • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:01AM (#47279947)

      These people are still human beings with dignity aren't they? or are they just diseased chattled to be mitigated?

      When, say, your daughter suddenly takes off for Florida, convinced that she will succeed in her new life as a monkey trainer, because the voices in her head said so, then she does need help. Period.

      There are blunt ways to put it, and sugar coated ways to put it, but the brain is malfunctioning and it needs help.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your brain is malfunctioning and you need help. You don't believe me? That's because your brain is malfunctioning and you need help!

        The entire fraudulent pseudoscience of psychiatry depends upon circular reasoning? You only think it does, because your brain is malfunctioning and you need help!!

        • by flyneye (84093)

          Oh , a little left brain hiccup from time to time never hurt anyone. But it does convince one that the television is watching them, the government is make-believe and the closet has an entrance to hell. Oddly you end up making a lot of left turns doing anything, but the medication is to die for.

          • ...But it does convince one that the television is watching them, the government is make-believe and the closet has an entrance to hell.

            Except for the 'closet' part, that sounds like a disturbingly accurate description of today's reality...

        • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Friday June 20, 2014 @07:14AM (#47280355)

          Your brain is malfunctioning and you need help. You don't believe me? That's because your brain is malfunctioning and you need help!

          The entire fraudulent pseudoscience of psychiatry depends upon circular reasoning? You only think it does, because your brain is malfunctioning and you need help!!

          Except that schizophrenics generally know that their brain is malfunctioning. And they're not happy about it. They may reject help, but they know they're not normal.

          Now when a state-appointed psychiatrist declares that you are insane because you don't love this most perfect of all nations, that's a different matter.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Indeed, I used to be schizoaffective and I made the mistake of coming in for help. The treatments themselves seemed to be designed to make the problem worse as they mostly underscored how differently my brain works from the model they're using. They also were trying to force me to buy into a reality that was just as non-existent as the one they were trying to get me to give up.

            The point here is that if doctors want to get people to come in for treatment, they need to exercise some judgment and professionali

            • Sometimes people trying to help you can't unless you let them. Try finding a good therapist (which might take a few attempts) and then once you find someone you can develop trust with try working with doctors. But remember, when your perception of things is distorted, it can be easy to see malice or incompetence when honest and qualified people face a difficult problem like mental illness.

        • by DNAtsol (678504)
          Me thinks someone did not do so well in psych 101. Just because you do not understand something does not mean it is a pseudoscience. There is plenty of biomedical (e.g., structural and functional brain studies), behavioral, and genetic research that converge on the same conclusions, conducted by people with big egos who have no interest is propping up other peoples cute little pet theories. In other word, the science of psychological disorders is cut-throat and you better have evidence to support you're cl
        • Re:controlling words (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:34AM (#47281317)

          >The entire fraudulent pseudoscience of psychiatry

          You bought this andi-psychology Scientology crap? Fuck you.

          I was born with an inability to synthesize serotonin, and lived in a Hell of chronic severe major depression for 54 years until somebody invented a drug (Viibryd) that turned my life from hopeless anxious suffering to a thriving and much more pleasant existence that now makes me glad that I DIDN'T kill myself all through those years.

          Some psychology is bogus, some practioners are bad at it or quacks, but not all psychology can be dismissed because you don't want to address your own issues and find denial and anti-scientism an effective avoidance technique.

          Again, fuck you.

        • Lots of people accuse psychiatrists in general of running a fraudulent pseudoscience. Aside from the issue of whether it's true or not, the accusations seem mostly to come from people who have recently stopped taking their meds cold turkey.
      • Re:controlling words (Score:4, Interesting)

        by flyneye (84093) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:58AM (#47280097) Homepage

        I am doubtful of the smartphones role in this. One must be able to carry the phone without believing it is SPYING on you for the men who want to control you.
        I can see smartphones being discarded or traded and the best laid plans of ex-spurts falling to poo.

      • The met someone who was quite badly afflicted, it came out when he was dumped by a girl at age 17. He developed this thing for sneaking off and climbing trees during thunderstorms, he went missing about a decade ago, he lived on the south coast of NSW, the cops found his abandoned car in nearby bushland (dotted with gold rush era mine shafts), recent heavy rain meant dogs and human trackers had nothing to follow. AFAIK, he's still missing.

        Socialising with the mentally ill can be difficult but it's often
      • And now let's try without the thinkofthechildren strawman, can we?

    • I wish psychiatrists could stop you from getting upset on other people's behalves.

    • I'm sure that when they develop sensors to detect attitude and intentions the psychiatrists will avail themselves of it.

      From what I gathered in the article this was about patients and/or their families coming to a doctor for help and using this as a tool for the doctor and patient to manage the patient's condition together.

      This reminds of the article about Target's ability to tell if a shopper is pregnant (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2102859/How-Target-knows-shoppers-pregnant--figured-teen-fathe

  • by domin_smog (3510581) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:07AM (#47279961)
    Giving a paranoid person a sense s/he is being observed 24/7...
    • by qbast (1265706)
      Sure it will help. If they are *actually* observed 24/7 then they are not really paranoid anymore, just rational. See? Instant cure.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It may seem like a joke, but I have met people diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia for whom wearing loud clothes makes it rational that everybody is watching them, and alleviates the anxiety somewhat. If people get used to the fact that they are being observed 24/7, that their phones are always tapped by NSA/GCHQ, and that all their web activity is being watched to see if they are doing anything wrong, then it will make the paranoid delusions more rational. We'll never know for sure how far we are from

        • by TheCarp (96830)

          There was a great writeup a while back which I haven't found in years, but described various neurotransmitters and what low/normal/high levels of each correspond to in terms of subjective experience. I could kind of see how this would work.... if you naturally are in a state of mind where you interpret everyones actions as relating to you "they are all looking at me" ...then having a story to connect that to "of course they are, this shirt is amazing"; then it changes the character of the experience.

          Wow the

      • Yeah, just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean THEY ain't out to get you!

  • I think it's important to realize here that a lot of people with psychological problems will refuse to get any help if psychiatrists in general are going to insist installing spyware on their wearable electronics. Maybe not so much because they don't trust the psychiatrist with the information, but more because it's relatively easy for others (government, police, spouses and family with technologically smart kids or in general people who don't have the same context as the psychiatrist has on his patient) to

  • Useful Technology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:28AM (#47280017) Homepage

    As someone who used to answer the 911 psych calls for our volunteer FD in a rural area, a voluntary app like this could be really useful. Where we lived back then first responders were the only regular checks a lot of the psych cases ever got. By the time someone called 911, they were way off the sanity reservation. Then law enforcement got involved and packed them off to primary care. They'd stabilize on their meds, the hospital would cut them loose because they didn't have insurance, sometimes with a couple days worth of meds, and we'd start the cycle all over again. Anything that would alert medical personnel that someone was having a problem and find a way to get them some help before we got a call that they were chasing cows around in the pasture bare ass naked would be a good thing.

    I learned that rural areas are full of crazy people because the cost of living is lower and they could be crazy and not bother as many people. It was kind of surprising to find out how many of our neighbors were genuinely, seriously out there howling at the moon loony tunes (technical medical jargon).

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      before we got a call that they were chasing cows around in the pasture bare ass naked

      Wait, we're not supposed to do that? :-P

      My biggest concern is if someone is getting a little into the area where they're going to start exhibiting some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, remembering to bring their phone with them isn't going to be a priority.

      And then I question if this only really helps well funded/supported, well insured people or not. Not everybody who suffers from schizophrenia has really great access t

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't phones already monitor schizophrenics? And satellites. And TVs. And the radio. And the people on the bus. And dental fillings. And the neighbours dog. They're all monitoring 24/7.
  • Um, not to be an ass, but a schizophrenic is someone who is suffering the symptoms of schizophrenia in a major way. When we're stable we simply suffer from schizophrenia. If someone is schizophrenic they definitely need to be hospitalized, but if it's just schizophrenia, not so much.

  • by AndyKron (937105)
    Doesn't our government do that already?
  • R.D. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947)

    If you're not schizophrenic, you're not paying attention.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 20, 2014 @06:53AM (#47280269)

    It already takes a lot of work to convince paranoid schizophrenics to trust their psychiatrist enough to open up to him. And now that person who they finally tentatively trust should start to do exactly what the patients think their "enemies" are doing to them?

    Really? That's a good idea?

    I guess I'm further from understanding the human psyche and psychology altogether than I thought...

  • Is blocking app permissions seen as a sign of relapse for paranoid schizophrenics?
  • Try to get a paranoid schizophrenic to carry a phone that collects his information. Obviously you would have to weld the smartphone to the guy as it is the very first thing he would focus on getting out of his life. A substantial number of mental patients feel that nothing at all is wrong with them or that they just have an insignificant, tiny, issue.
  • ... so a black van can roll up, grab them, and cart them away.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When my schizophrenic brother was having his attacks, he used to think the wiring in the walls, appliances, metal shelves, silverware, anything metal was either talking to him (bleed-through he calls it) or emitting radiation. Several violent episodes where this went on and on.

    So during an episode, pretty much the first thing he'd do was throw all these items out in the yard and break his cellphone in half. You'd know for sure he was having issues was when the phone went dead.

    Lost an iPhone and sever

  • by fgouget (925644)
    Governments have realized that they can collect vast amounts of data about their citizens using smartphone apps that passively monitor the citizens as they go about their daily business. A prototype for opponents is planned to be tested out soon on Long Island. The Tia trial will look at behavior patterns (tracking movement, sleep, and conversations) and correlate them with data gathered from past opponents; researchers hope the data will reveal the "signature" of a citizen who is about fall off the one tru
  • Designing a machine to invisibly spy on schizophrenics. What could possibly go wrong? On the Origin of the "Influencing Machine" in Schizophrenia [wikipedia.org]

    The schizophrenic influencing machine is a machine of mystical nature. The patients are able to give only vague hints of its construction. It consists of boxes, cranks, levers, wheels, buttons, wires, batteries, and the like. Patients endeavor to discover the construction of the apparatus by means of their technical knowledge, and it appears that with the progressive popularization of the sciences, all the forces known to technology are utilized to explain the functioning of the apparatus. All the discoveries of mankind, however, are regarded as inadequate to explain the marvelous powers of this machine, by which the patients feel themselves persecuted.

  • So I don't know what you're talking about.

  • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Friday June 20, 2014 @03:55PM (#47284777)

    Google, the NSA, and others have realized that they can collect vast amounts of data about people using smartphone apps that passively monitor them as they go about their daily business

    FTFY

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