Could a wearable break a drug addict’s habit?

click to enlargeTwo studies of addicts, recovering and otherwise, using the Empatica biosensor bracelet, have indicated that certain data could help track addicted patients’ behavior and possibly behavior leading to a recovering addict’s drug relapse.

The pilot tracked five supervised addicts (one cocaine, the remainder morphine) who wore the E4 Empatica before, during, and after a drug use event. When each drug was used, it created a unique ‘signature’ of vital signs. The second study of 15 recovering addicts also confirmed these results, with all participants keeping their bracelets on and interested in their results. According to the researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, their next study will examine drug ‘signatures’ of different types of users, from first time to tolerant user, and also to help gauge the effect of drug antidotes in an ER/ED setting. Eventually, the studies will gather information on predicting drug relapses.

The Empatica continuously measures heartbeat, motion in three dimensions, skin electrical conductance, and skin temperature, each up to 30 times per second, plus GPS.  IEEE Spectrum Hat tip to former TTA Ireland Editor Toni Bunting

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