Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Integrating the use of sensing technology to detect early warning signs of relapse in bipolar disorder

  Shazmin Majid (2018 cohort)

Aims and Objectives

The current research aims to create a novel self-tracking mobile application which uses a combination of active and passive sensing techniques to detect EWS in BD. The research will use a mobile sensing platform called RADAR-base which has been developed by the industrial sponsors of the research. RADAR-base can currently collect passive smartphone data including phone usage, local weather, step count, GPS location, which apps are being used and for how long, battery level, other Bluetooth devices in the vicinity, sleep information and heart rate (provided by participant Fitbit connection if possible), number of contacts on phone and ambient light. RADAR-base can also collect active, inputted data from participants by delivering mood scales/questionnaires at specified times.  Currently the platform has successful use cases for major depressive disorder 27, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy 28. This research aims to explore self-tracking practices in those with BD and works with the industry sponsors to adapt RADAR-base to be used for those with BD. This would be beyond solely sensing smartphone data and explore the utility of other types of digital data such as financial data, home utility usage and car usage data in understanding EWS in BD. This would be in combination with actively collected mood data about depressive and manic symptoms. Specifically, the research is split into three discrete work packages. Work Package 1 will explore the everyday practices of self-tracking in those with BD and use the findings to adapt RADAR-base, using a user-led design approach. Work Package 2 will investigate whether it is possible to sense EWS using an adapted version of RADAR-base. Work Package 3 will explore the accuracy of detection of EWS and investigate what users think about the system once used.

Progress and Achievements

Work Package 1: Completed

Workshops were ran in Nottingham (January 2020) and in Northampton (March 2020) with 18 participants which explored the everyday self-tracking practices for those with BD. These findings were explored more specifically to design in follow up interviews with 10 participants in June 2020. Key relationships were built with charities including Bipolar UK (national) and Bipolar Lift CiC (Nottingham), both of which have agreed to be involved in the research in respect to recruitment and dissemination. The findings from the workshop have been submitted to a doctoral consortium at Pervasive Health 2020. Results for this will be released in August. The findings from this work package 1 have been discussed with the developers of RADAR-base and changes are being made according to the findings in order to start testing.

Work Package 2 and 3: Awarded ethical approval

Ethics for these two work packages have been approved to the Department of Computer Science 

Other research achievements: Placement award and internship

I was the recipient of Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration to spent 2 weeks with RADAR team based in Kings College London. I also have completed an Clinical Technology Research Internship (July - October) with leading pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) at the Global IT Hub in Prague, Czech Republic. During this time I worked on a systematic review to understand user preferences for data visualisation which is being prepared for publication. This internship was completed with the RADAR-CNS team based as MSD.

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (RCUK Grant No. EP/L015463/1) and Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre.