Smartphone technology expected to advance assessment of neurological soft signs in schizophrenia


Advances in smartphones and digital phenotyping offer a means for more reliable scoring

  • A test of balance: Patients stand with their arms held parallel to the floor and their eyes closed for one minute; patients could perform the same test with a smartphone attached to their sternums.
  • A test of motor coordination (like the tandem walk): Patients walk heel-to-toe in a straight line for 12 feet; the same test has been administered to patients with Parkinson’s disease by having them put a smartphone in their pants pockets.
  • A test of complex motor acts: Ask the patient to reproduce a series of audible taps; alternatively, the smartphone could play a beat with the patient tapping along, and the patient could be asked to continue tapping the same pattern after the beat stops.

Smartphones and digital phenotyping have multiple advantages over traditional assessment

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