Takeda to trial depression-monitoring Apple Watch app

Takeda has teamed up with Cognition Kit to trial the use of an Apple Watch app to monitor people with depression. The project will assess the feasibility and effectiveness of using wearable devices to track the mood and cognition of people with the condition.

Cognition Kit, a joint venture between Cambridge Cognition and Ctrl Group, is contributing the app to the collaboration. Cambridge Cognition and Ctrl Group teamed up 11 months ago to develop mental health-tracking wearables that combine their respective strengths in cognitive assessment and healthcare technology. A prototype followed in April, and now, having attracted the attention of Takeda, Cognition Kit is ready to see how its app fares in clinical testing.

The collaborators plan to enroll 30 adults with mild to moderate depression who are being treated with antidepressants. By giving the subjects Apple Watches loaded with the Cognition Kit app, the study aims to build a picture of user compliance with the app and whether it delivers useful data. The partners will compare data gathered by the app to results from neuropsychological testing and patient-reported assessments.

Cognition Kit is looking to the trial to start the process of validating its belief that using wearable devices to assess psychomotor speed, memory, social cognition, attention and executive function can give researchers and doctors insights into a patient's mental health.

"By combining wearable technology with world leading neuroscience, we've created an app that collects real time passive and active high-frequency mental health data. Being able to access data regularly from daily life can help clinical decision making. Healthcare professionals can obtain patient data and increase patient engagement in their treatment,” Cambridge Cognition CSO Jenny Barnett, Ph.D. said in a statement.

Cognition Kit is hoping to see its technology used to monitor the cognitive function of patients in clinical trials and healthcare settings, as well as through consumer products. As such, the bar it will need to clear is higher than for consumer-focused devices such as Fitbits.

All the companies involved in the pilot project have experience working in regulated environments—Cambridge Cognition has a CE-marked cognitive health app for touchscreen devices—but mental health-focused wearables represent new territory for them and the industry as a whole.