A Michigan psychiatrist is developing an app to predict when a manic episode is imminent in patients with bipolar disorder. Although there are currently drugs to prevent such episodes, detecting when one might happen currently is nearly impossible.
Early detection could give doctors a chance to adjust a patient’s medications and stave off full-blown manic episodes, according to Melvin McInnis, MD, of the University of Michigan Medical Center.
Researchers have known for some time that when people are experiencing a manic or depressive episode, their speech patterns change. Depressed patients tend to speak slowly, with long pauses, whereas people with a full-blown manic attack tend to speak extremely rapidly, jumping from topic to topic.
So McInnis designed an app that records a patient's voice whenever he or she speaks on the phone.The recordings are then sent to a computer in the doctor’s office once daily to be analyzed for such qualities as speed, energy, and inflection. The hope is that the app will subsequently predict when a manic episode might be forthcoming. Testing is currently underway in a small group of patients participating in a longitudinal study on bipolar disorder.
There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. And now a Michigan psychiatrist is developing an app he hopes doctors will someday use to predict when a manic episode is imminent in patients with bipolar disorder. People with the disorder alternate between crushing depression and wild manic episodes that come.