This App Says It Can Detect Mental Health Problems By A User’s Phone Usage. But Does It Live Up To Its Promise?
Almost no one outside the company has any idea whether it works, and most of the company’s key promises or claims aren’t yet backed up by published, peer-reviewed data. In other health and technology related news: Facebook's kid-centric app draws criticism; brain scans may be able to detect skill levels; and a Fitbit helps solve a crime.
Mindstrong's Mood-Predicting App Is Shadowed By Questions Over Evidence
In the world of digital health, Silicon Valley-based Mindstrong stands out. It has a star-studded team and tens of millions in venture capital funding, including from Jeff Bezos’ VC firm. It also has a captivating idea: that its app, based on cognitive functioning research, can help detect troubling mental health patterns by collecting data on a person’s smartphone usage — how quickly they type or scroll, for instance. The promise of that technology has helped Mindstrong build incredible momentum since it launched last year; already more than a dozen counties in California have agreed to deploy the company’s app to patients. (Sheridan, 10/4)
The Associated Press:
Child Experts File FTC Complaint Against Facebook Kids' App
Children's and public health advocacy groups say Facebook's kid-centric messaging app violates federal law by collecting kids' personal information without getting verifiable consent from their parents. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate Facebook's Messenger Kids for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. (10/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Brain Scans Can Detect Who Has Better Skills
To gain new insight into how highly specialized workers learn skills or react to stressful situations, researchers are leveraging advanced scanning technologies to look at what’s happening inside the brain. In the latest findings, a team of researchers studied surgeons as they performed surgical simulations and found they could identify novice from experienced surgeons by analyzing brain scans taken as the physicians worked. (Hernandez, 10/3)
The New York Times:
Police Use Fitbit Data To Charge 90-Year-Old Man In Stepdaughter’s Killing
The last time Anthony Aiello spoke to his stepdaughter, he took homemade pizza and biscotti to her house in San Jose, Calif., for a brief visit. Mr. Aiello, 90, told investigators that she then walked him to the door and handed him two roses in gratitude. But an unnoticed observer in the house later revealed that their encounter ended in murder, a police report said. Five days afterward, Mr. Aiello’s stepdaughter, Karen Navarra, 67, was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. She had been wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker, which investigators said showed that her heart rate had spiked significantly around 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 8, when Mr. Aiello was there. (Hauser, 10/3)