UK firms join forces to develop wearables for mental health monitoring
March 15, 2016
Cambridge Cognition and London-based Ctrl Group are working together to develop assessment and monitoring wearables for mental ill health.
“We see a huge advantage in being able to understand cognition in daily life through wearable and smart technologies and Ctrl Group are delighted to be working with Cambridge Cognition to make this happen,” said co-founder of Ctrl Group Ben Fehnert.
Mental ill health is the world’s largest cause of disability and economic loss. In the UK, for example, one in four adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem each year. With an estimated half a billion people affected worldwide, the cost to global economies is on course to exceed $6tn per annum by 2030.
Common mental health disorders such as dementia, depression and anxiety are characterised by symptoms that can fluctuate regularly. Until now this has created difficulties for researchers and healthcare professionals as infrequent assessments in medical settings are unable to reflect a patient’s health between visits or in everyday life.
By engaging with individuals through wearable and smart devices, the new technology can provide a richer and more natural profile of mental health to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders, helping people to lead fuller, more active lives and reducing global healthcare costs.
Under the partnership, digital health products are being designed and developed enabling near-user cognitive testing on wearable and smart devices. In broader healthcare populations, more meaningful cognitive data could enable practitioners to detect mental health risk factors early, reduce the likelihood of relapse and, by tracking daily activity, help individuals to understand and manage their own cognitive health and wellbeing much like products such as Fitbit have for physical health.
For pharmaceutical companies, understanding the real world impact of interventions will support their clinical trials of drug development candidates and marketed treatments for chronic diseases.
The new range of products will be licensed initially to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers through relationships established by Cambridge Cognition and Ctrl Group in contracts won to enrich drug development and patient wellbeing.
“We are excited to be advancing our healthcare technologies into product with partners with synergistic technical skills to meet the growing needs of our pharmaceutical customers and address large non-clinical markets,” said Steven Powell, chief executive officer of Cambridge Cognition. “The move to near-user cognitive measures on consumer electronics marks a significant step for Cambridge Cognition in realising the company’s aim to become the world leader in cognitive healthcare technologies.”