UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
The ultimate goal of this research is to fundamentally change the ways in which behavioral interventions are delivered. We propose an innovative mobile Enabling Technology-iHeal-that recognizes stressors that threaten a patients recovery and then delivers evidence-based interventions exactly at the moment of greatest need. Our objective is to determine, within subjects, the extent to which physiologic and affective changes detected by iHeal are predictive, within subjects, of posttraumatic stress or drug cues. The study team has considerable expertise in technology development and in assessment of behavioral interventions in co-occurring disorders. We will study 25 subjects drawn from an existing SAMHSA-funded investigation that utilizes intense case management to monitor progression of PTSD and substance abuse in returning combat veterans. Our proposed investigation will share interventions with the SMAHSA study that are based upon a blending of Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approaches for PTSD and substance abuse. Specific aims: 1) To evaluate the accuracy with which iHeal characterizes physiological and affective phenomena as acute stress reactions related to PTSD and environmental drug cues; and 2) To evaluate the effect of Motivational Interviewing-based interventions on acute stress reactions related to PTSD and environmental drug cues. This initial proposal is extremely innovative. The proposed iHeal device will employ cutting-edge wireless technology to link wearable sensors to personal mobile computing platforms (e.g., iPhone) This linkage will allow iHeal to detect co-occurring biological and behavioral processes, while embedded computing in the mobile platform permits iHeal to deliver evidence-based empathetic interventions at the opportune moment. iHeal can learn to intervene in ways that are most effective for the user, including scripted text-based dialogues modeled after brief interventions; use of motivating images or messages from loved ones; playing a meaningful song; or contacting a counselor at the moment of greatest need. Ultimately, a wearable wireless device that anticipates stressors and intervenes at a likely transition to risky activities has enormous potential in a variety of social, behavioral, and biomedical research enterprises. Importantly, iHeal has immediate commercial applications that will encourage job growth in behavioral science, biomedical, computer science, telecommunication, and electrical engineering enterprises.