At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, two tech-based health researchers received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a wireless device that informs treatment and knowledge of schizophrenia. Scientists are still discovering the nuances and characteristics of schizophrenia. It is often identified as a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s processing, emotions, and behavior. It begins with subtle idiosyncrasies in one’s everyday behavior, which makes it difficult for doctors to observe in a clinical setting. To further the field's knowledge of schizophrenia, the UMass researchers explain that people with schizophrenia whose symptoms are not controlled typically create distance between themselves and other people.
The new wireless device that is designed to look like a necklace can track information about the patients. The UMass researchers will glean data about the patient, such as how far they stand from others and their breathing and movement as they interact – and whether the distance differs among family members, friends, co-workers, and strangers. This information can help doctors determine how well medication is working and whether other therapies and interventions would be beneficial and improve quality of life. The wireless device seeks to quantify the effects of schizophrenia and how to provide the appropriate care, which has vast implications for mental illnesses that have hard to observe signs and symptoms. [Source: Lee via UMass Amherst]