Neuroscience data: Future impact of digital biomarkers & wearables

In the past few years, wearable devices that can collect medically relevant data has formed a global market which is projected to reach $12.1 billion by 2021, with the US being the largest market. Such an exponential rise in data-generating devices naturally goes together with the astronomical growth of healthcare data.

In this new era it is consumers who directly collect data about health or disease management through digital health technologies. By sifting through these data, data scientists are in hot pursuit of so-called "digital biomarkers", or signatures of health-related conditions, which ultimately are hoped to be able to explain, influence or predict health-related outcomes.

Of particular interest are those digital biomarkers that can help in the area of CNS-related drug discovery, as diseases like Alzheimer's continue to be difficult to develop effective drugs for.

What does it mean for our industry?

Digital biomarkers could significantly help in bringing healthcare from a reactive towards a more preventive approach, as researchers will not only be able to explain diseases better, but more and more data will be available to analyze what healthy, normal states signify and to predict future health outcomes.

Stephen Larson, CEO of MetaCell, and Dan Karlin, General Manager of HealthMode, recently hosted a live webinar where they discussed how research into digital biomarkers will soar in the coming years, and possible challenges to overcome, including:

  • Standardized solutions needed to be able to compare studies carried out with digital biomarkers
  • Instruments reliability - currently questionable as not every wearable or health sensor is FDA- or CE-approved
  • How measurements could evolve in the near future
  • Privacy and regulations

Watch the recording