Digital Diagnostics and Phenotyping
Electronic Media and Its Application in Psychotherapy (EMAP)
This study explores the feasibility and effectiveness of including electronic communication as part of standard clinical care. We are developing novel protocols that will let participants share digital collateral information with their therapists while retaining control over their data and privacy. Our protocol also lets therapists retain full clinical discretion of how they utilize this information. Investigators measure whether and how this digital information impacts care and outcomes. To review early findings, click here.
AI-Based Digital Phenotyping of Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia
This project examines the feasibility, tolerability, safety, and reliability of the Emerald device for use by those diagnosed with major neurocognitive disorder and their caregivers. The device utilizes wireless sensors, developed at MIT, to map motion, spatial location, and respiratory signals without making contact with the patient. From this device, we study how data can identify clinical events and trends, guide development of behavioral biomarkers and inform clinical decision making. To learn more about the Emerald device, click here.
Virtual Reality Therapy in Older Adults
Our team is working closely with clinicians in the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean to develop protocols for implementing virtual reality based interventions for older adults. We are developing protocols for individual and group therapy and exploring barriers and facilitators to the use of VR. Our work includes partnerships with VR developers as well as creation of proprietary content. Click here to read our systematic review of how virtual reality impacts mental health in older adults. Click here to read our proof of concept for VR as a targeted and personalized approach to late-life psychotherapy.
Mindfulness-Based Art Psychotherapy Group for Older Adults Using Digital Tools
The explosion of digital tools for phototherapy in the past 5 years offers the capability to maximize the potential of this modality by facilitating combination of both mindfulness and phototherapy for exponential treatment impact. We have conducted preliminary feasibility and qualitative effectiveness research on a digital phototherapy-based mindfulness group for older adults experiencing anxiety and depression in the SAGE program within the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean. The approach appeared feasible and possible to implement in a group of older adults, and qualitative feedback indicated that participants felt a sense of mastery and continued interest in both mindfulness and phototherapy practices. This work points to the vast potential of incorporating technology to accelerate and expand the process of art therapies and serves as a model of how to incorporate digital tools into the process of clinical care, both in group and individual settings.
Our lab is currently conducting work around the impact of assistive and other robotic technology. For additional information, see our review that was published in the International Review of Psychiatry in 2021 here, and poster that was accepted for the AAGP 2020 Annual Meeting here.
Technology and Aging Initiative
The goal of the Technology and Aging Initiative is to serve as an early adopter of technologies for clinical care and study their feasibility, with the aim of expanding their use at McLean in collaboration with the Institute for Technology in Psychiatry (ITP). The initiative involves leveraging commercial technology by incorporating wearables and mobile device sensors for real-time phenotyping of behavior symptoms such as apathy and insomnia. Our team has extensive experience in this domain, having previously completed projects that involved the use of video games for subsyndromal depression, telepsychiatry for neurocognitive testing in rural Latino populations and using tablet devices to control behavioral symptoms in dementia.