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Taking Brain Vitals: New Tools to Detect Mental Disorders

During routine medical checkups, physicians measure various physical vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respiratory rate. Any abnormalities in these screening tests would prompt the doctor to conduct or refer the patient for further testing. However, brain vitals -- a simple set of tests easily administered on a smartphone or tablet that measure mood, cognition, reaction time, spatial discrimination and memory -- have yet to be well integrated into routine medical check-ups. Such tests could augment health care professionals' diagnostic powers by allowing them to evaluate and track changes in standardized measurements over time.