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Tag: mindfulness

Breathe! The Shape-Shifting Ball That Supports Mental Health

Article Excerpt: A soft ball that ‘personifies’ breath, expanding and contracting in synchronicity with a person’s inhalations and exhalations, has been invented by a PhD student at the University of Bath. The ball is designed to support mental health, giving users a tangible representation of their breath to keep them focused and to help them regulate their emotions.
Alexz Farrall, the student in the Department of Computer Science who invented the device, said: “By giving breath physical form, the ball enhances self-awareness and engagement, fostering positive mental health outcomes.”

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Article Source: ScienceBlog


Psychological Phenotypes Correlate with Response to Digital Therapy for Anxiety

Article Excerpt: A patient’s psychological phenotype could be an indication of whether the patient will respond to a digital therapy for anxiety, according to a new report. The study offers insights that could help clinicians offer personalized care to patients with psychological conditions, but it also could explain why some patients respond more strongly than others to the types of therapy often leveraged by prescription digital therapeutics. The findings were published in Scientific Reports. Corresponding author Veronique A. Taylor, Ph.D., M.Sc., of the Brown University School of Public Health, and colleagues, said while personalized medicine has become an important component of other types of healthcare, personalized medicine in mental health has lagged due in part to a lack of research.

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Article Source: Managed Healthcare Executive


Can VR Act as A Digital Therapeutic?

Article Excerpt: Our digital, two-dimensional lives leave little room for focus. Our eyes dart from screen to screen over the course of the day as notifications and messages draw our attention away from tasks, from relaxation, from the faces of our loved ones. Through all of its flatness, our digital lives are dominated by distraction—so much so that we can sometimes forget to breathe. Finding lasting inner peace from within this flattened world can be a neurological nightmare. Mindfulness and meditation apps, digital health’s answer in the last decade, use many of the same engagement methods that have propelled other consumer applications like games and fitness apps to success. Strategies like achievements and social connectivity have kept many users coming back to engage in evidence-based, clinically effective therapies. But even the most effective and engaging mindfulness apps can’t transcend the noise and distraction of our everyday lives.

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Article Source: Fast Company


Wearable Sensor May Help Curb Opioid Relapses, Overdoses

Article Excerpt: Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University have collaborated to create a wireless senor designed to prevent opioid relapses and overdoses. The opioid epidemic has steadily worsened across the country since the late 1990s. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid-related overdoses, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Further, around 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, the federal data shows.To combat this issue, the research team — headed by Tauhidur Rahman, PhD, an assistant professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst and co-director of the MOSAIC Lab — is developing a sensor, which will use machine learning to pinpoint psychophysiological signs in real time and determine whether they are consistent with opioid cravings. Cravings are one of the main drivers behind relapses and overdoses.

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Article Source: mHealth Intelligence


Telephone-based depression self-management in Hispanic adults with epilepsy: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Spruill TM, Friedman D, Diaz L, Butler MJ, Goldfeld KS, O’Kula S, Montesdeoca J, Payano L, Shallcross AJ, Kaur K, Tau M, Vazquez B, Jongeling A, Ogedegbe G, Devinsky O. (2021). Telephone-based depression self-management in Hispanic adults with epilepsy: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 11(7), 1451–1460.

Project UPLIFT, a telephone-based depression self-management program, was developed for Hispanic adults with epilepsy. A study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of culturally adapted UPLIFT for the Hispanic community. Hispanic patients with elevated depressive symptoms were recruited from epilepsy clinics in New York City and randomly assigned to UPLIFT or usual care (i.e., receiving educational materials on epilepsy self-management). UPLIFT was delivered in English or Spanish to small groups in eight weekly telephone sessions. The researchers measured feasibility through recruitment, retention, and adherence rates. Accessibility was assessed through self-reported satisfaction questionnaires. Recruitment (76% consent rate) and retention rates (86-93%) were high at 8 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months follow-ups. Satisfaction ratings among 96% of UPLIFT participants were “mostly or very satisfied”, but rates of long-term use at 12 months post-intervention were low. Rates of clinically significant depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 score of 5 and over) were lower in the UPLIFT arm compared to the usual care arm at 8 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months. The findings suggested that UPLIFT is feasible and acceptable among Hispanic adults with epilepsy and is effective for lowering depression scores.


Mental health apps in psychiatric treatment: A patient perspective on real world technology usage

Chiauzzi E, Newell A. (2019). Mental health apps in Psychiatric Treatment: A Patient Perspective on Real World Technology Usage. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health. 6(4): e12292. doi:10.2196/12292

Researchers at PatientsLikeMe, a patient social network and research platform, conducted a case study with Individual X, a 43-year-old woman with treatment-resistant rapid-cycling type 2 bipolar disorder, whose lived experience and technological expertise from a career as a software engineer offer unique insight into the use of mHealth in psychiatric treatment. Read More


Technology’s Role In Fighting Drug Addiction

Article Excerpt: As a society, we are faced with a great many challenges, and it’s no secret that one of the more prevalent is that of substance abuse. Amongst the most dangerous and holistically destructive of these behaviors, affecting multiple facets of our social landscape from individual health and wellbeing to pressure on already strained infrastructure, is opioid addiction. It’s an issue that has become so concerning that in 2018, the FDA presented an innovation challenge to technology developers to help address its prevention and treatment.

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Article Source: TechTalks


Association between improvement in baseline mood and long-term use of mindfulness and meditation app: Observational study

Athanas AJ, McCorrison JM, Smalley S, et al. (2019). Association between improvement in baseline mood and long-term use of a mindfulness and meditation app: Observational study. JMIR Mental Health. 6(5): e12617. doi: 10.2196/12617

Stop, Breathe and Think (SBT) is a mindfulness meditation mobile application (app) that allows users to initiate meditation activities. Users are asked to complete mood checks by selecting up to 5 emotional descriptors to describe their emotional state before and after completing meditation activities. Read More


How are you feeling? Check your wristband

Article Excerpt: About 10% of US adults struggle with a mood disorder, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder, according to the US National Institute of Mental Health.Part of the treatment for a mood disorder involves becoming more aware of emotions, and then learning to regulate emotional response, the study authors said in background notes in their report…To that end, the UK researchers are developing wristbands that use sensors to detect changes in a person’s emotional intensity by tracking the electrical conductivity of their skin.

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Article Source: Health24