We know that repeated stresses that feel outside of our control can be a risk factor in developing clinical disorders of mental health such as depression and anxiety. Yet, right now, we do not have tests for monitoring when we are at risk of these disorders.  Mental health diagnostics and treatment decisions rely on subjective judgements. In this collaborative study, we are developing and testing a cutting-edge wearable that measures physical signs of stress and changes in these signs. Our research connects these wearable metrics to  brain circuit changes that are called ‘biotypes’ and that characterize mental states and disorders. We measure biotypes using functional imaging scans of the brain in the same people who have the wearable. By integrating these metrics and data, we are building transformative system for more precisely detecting an individual’s personal signature of risk as they move from adaptive stress responses into maladaptive states.

An effort like this requires a multidisciplinary collaborative approach. Our team is made up of people from several departments, including psychiatry, chemical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science. Our faculty team includes co-PIs Zhenan Bao and Leanne Williams, and Keith Humphreys,  Pablo Paredes, Jan Liphardt and James Landay.   The study was possible thanks to the Stanford Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions initiative.

Together, we are creating and hope to sustain a system of mental health care that is informed by objective data and focused on prevention and personalized interventions.