Smartphones to Prevent, Treat Substance Abuse

by Sheela Philomena on  February 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment
Font : A-A+

Scientists are in the process of using smartphone technology to prevent and treat drug carvings and substance abuse. Preliminary data about the multi-media device, called iHeal, was published online first in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.
Smartphones to Prevent, Treat Substance Abuse
Smartphones to Prevent, Treat Substance Abuse

According to the study's authors, many behavioral interventions used to treat patients are ineffective outside of the controlled clinical settings where they are taught. This failure can be attributed to several factors, including a patient's inability to recognize biological changes that indicate increased risk of relapse and an inability to change their behaviors to reduce health risk.

Edward Boyer, MD, PhD, professor of emergency medicine at UMass Medical School and lead author of the study, worked with colleagues at UMMS and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to design a mobile device using so-called "enabling technologies" that could be used to make behavioral interventions for substance abusers more effective outside the clinic or office environments. The result of their work, iHeal, combines sensors to measure physiological changes and detect trigger points for risky health behaviors, such as substance use, with smartphone software tailored to respond with patient-specific interventions.

Individuals with a history of substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder were asked to wear an iHeal sensor band around their wrist that measures the electrical activity of the skin, body motion, skin temperature and heart rate - all indicators of stress. The band wirelessly transmits information to a smartphone, where software applications monitor and process the user's physiological data. When the software detects an increased stress level, it asks the user to annotate events by inputting information about their perceived level of stress, drug cravings, and current activities. This information is then used to identify, in real-time, drug cravings and deliver personalized, multimedia drug prevention interventions precisely at the moment of greatest physiological need.

Boyer and his teams examined the iHeal system architecture, as well as preliminary feedback from initial users, to identify key attributes and assess the device's viability. Their analyses suggest a number of technical issues related to data security, as well as the need for a more robust and less stigmatizing version before the device could be worn in public.

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

More News on:

Drug Abuse Screening Test 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook

News Category

News Archive