Apple reportedly working on iPhone features that may help diagnose depression

The company is looking to identify signs of depression, autism and cognitive decline in iPhone user data, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
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The iPhone could become a cognitive diagnostic tool.

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Apple is working with the University of California, Los Angeles, and pharmaceutical company Biogen to develop iPhone features that could help diagnose both depression and cognitive decline, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

In documents and interviews obtained by the Journal, Apple is looking to build a reliable detection algorithm by identify signals found in iPhone users' biometric data, including sleep patterns, mobility and the way you type on your iPhone. That algorithm, Apple hopes, could become the basis for new iPhone features

Apple's code name for the UCLA project is "Seabreeze," the Journal reported. For the Biogen project, the code name is "Pi." 

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Apple's other brain-related research partnership seeks to create an algorithm to detect childhood autism by culling data from the iPhone's camera and analyzing kids' data, according to the Journal. That partnership is reportedly with Duke University. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. 

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