Mindstrong’s science begins with the smartphone. With over three billion smartphones globally and more than 75% of American adults owning a smartphone (92% between ages 18 – 29), this powerful mobile computer has become ubiquitous. Digital phenotyping collects data from the smartphone to provide measures of cognition and emotion.
Digital Biomarkers Correlate with Traditional Neurocognitive Assessments
Digital phenotyping can use a range of different signals from a smartphone. Mindstrong has focused on human-computer interactions such as taps, scrolls, clicks and other activities on the smartphone touchscreen. Our science is based on these measures alone, which are completely passive and do not rely on personal information (unlike location or speech data).
Digital biomarkers and cognitive traits. Volunteers (n=27) compared on neurocognitive tests and digital biomarkers. Correlations across multiple cognitive trait measures = 0.7-0.8 (approximately the test-retest variance of the traditional tests). Source: Dagum, Digital Medicine, 2018.
To identify the digital phenotyping features that could be clinically useful, Mindstrong used powerful machine learning methods to show that specific digital features correlate with cognitive function, clinical symptoms, and measures of brain activity in a range of clinical studies.
Research volunteers completed extensive neuropsychological testing, clinical assessments of mood and cognition, and, in some cases, neuroimaging with fMRI. The results revealed a set of digital biomarkers from human-smartphone interactions that correlate highly with select cognitive measures, mood state, and brain connectivity. These interactions were comprised of taps, swipes and other touchscreen activities which were completely content-free and not reliant on capturing personal information.
Biomarker Loading on Depression Constructs †
Biomarkers Load on Distinct Neural Circuits
Research subjects with depression who volunteered for fMRI brain scans (n = 100) demonstrated that the specific digital biomarkers associated with cognitive control and reward highly correlated with activity in brain areas which are implicated in those same domains.
† Mindstrong biomarker platform was used by the National Institutes of Health grant UH2HL132368 “Engaging self-regulation targets to understand the mechanisms of behavior change and improve mood and weight outcomes”.
Mindstrong is engaged in multiple clinical programs to advance medical innovation and improve healthcare delivery for patients.
Mindstrong has developed and patented a biomarker panel that measures brain function from interaction patterns captured passively and continuously from human-computer interfaces found in ubiquitous mobile technology.
This publication describes the study used to identify digital biomarkers that predict performance on gold standard neurocognitive tests.
Related Content: Behind the Paper. This accompanying article describes the story behind Mindstrong’s technology, and the journey Paul Dagum, Founder and CEO, took to develop the pioneering concept and work.
Annette Madrid, Daniel Smith, Sarah Alvarez-Horine, Kerensa Saljooqi, Paul Dagum, Atul Mahableshwarkar
This poster reports preliminary results from a Phase 2A trial of BTRX-246040, a potent and selective antagonist of the human nociception receptor (NOPR), as a treatment for anhedonia in patients with major depressive disorder. Mindstrong’s digital phenotyping is one of the outcome measures being used to assess efficacy.
Thomas R. Insel
This Commentary describes the changing ecosystem as small and large tech companies become involved in biomedical research and healthcare.