Assessing Anxiety Disorders Using Wearable Devices: Challenges and Future Directions

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Elgendi, M.; Menon, C. Assessing Anxiety Disorders Using Wearable Devices: Challenges and Future Directions. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 50. DOI: 10.3390/brainsci9030050

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Digital medicine
Mental well-being
Self-help with email support
Mental health promotion
Wearable devices

Wearable devices (WD) are starting to increasingly be used for interventions to promote well-being by reducing anxiety disorders (AD). Electrocardiogram (ECG) signal is one of the most commonly used biosignals for assessing the cardiovascular system as it significantly reflects the activity of the autonomic nervous system during emotional changes. Little is known about the accuracy of using ECG features for detecting ADs. Moreover, during our literature review, a limited number of studies were found that involve ECG collection usingWDfor promoting mental well-being. Thus, for the sake of validating the reliability of ECG features for detecting anxiety in WD, we screened 1040 articles, and only 22 were considered for our study; specifically 6 on panic, 4 on post-traumatic stress, 4 on generalized anxiety, 3 on social, 3 on mixed, and 2 on obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder articles. Most experimental studies had controversial results. Upon reviewing each of these papers, it became apparent that the use of ECG features for detecting different types of anxiety is controversial, and the use of ECG-WD is an emerging area of research, with limited evidence suggesting its reliability. Due to the clinical nature of most studies, it is difficult to determine the specific impact of ECG features on detecting ADs, suggesting the need for more robust studies following our proposed recommendations.

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