• Wearable devices could be used to detect mental health problems

Technology embedded in wearable devices could be used to detect mental health conditions, such as dementia or depression, according to app developer Cambridge Cognition.

The firm already has already been testing the ability of mobile phones apps to measure cognitive functions, such as memory and attention span, on more than 20,000 patients. The business is now aiming to use its technology in wearables in order to monitor behaviour patterns that might reveal changes in mental health.

“Wearables have really taken off as a way for people to monitor and manage their physical health. We think the time is right for something similar in mental health,” said Jenny Barnett, director of healthcare at Cambridge Cognition.

The company claim there is a clear need for this technology as mental health is the world’s largest cause of disability and economic loss. In the UK alone, one in four adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem each year. With an estimated half a billion people affected worldwide, it said the cost to global economies could exceed $6 trillion per annum by 2030.

Cambridge Cognition said they would be working the new solution with London based Ctrl Group. Dr Steven Powell, chief executive officer of Cambridge Cognition: “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.”