|ADHD Monitors and Apps|
This is the second post on new ADHD monitors and apps. We began the discussion several days ago with brain monitoring apps and today we look at stress, sleep and food sensitivity apps.
One of the tools currently available for ADHD monitoring is, as of today, only available for the iPhone. It is called SweetBeats and is made by a company called SweetWater Health. The company does reports that it is working on the Android version of this app. SweetBeat, when coupled with a chest strap monitor, provides users will several health measurements that are important to both ADHD and to overall health.
The SweetBeat app alerts users of their stress levels and monitors their success when they apply stress reduction measures such as deep breathing, meditation, exercise, etc. Charts that can be viewed on your smart phone provide the user with feedback regarding daily stress levels, heart rate as well as other wellness related measures and the newest version of SweetBeat adds a food sensitivity monitor. Using the chest strap and based on a pulse test, the app tests a person’s bodily response to foods and suggests the elimination of offending foods.
This app was originally developed for weight loss as food sensitivities can make us fat but as food sensitivities can affect attention, hyperactivity and other ADHD symptoms (as was tested in the INCA food and ADHD study), this app may also prove useful to the ADHD community.
Zeo Sleep Manager Pro is, one of several sleep-tracking apps that can monitor the phases and the quality of your sleep. The apps that monitor sleep are all a little different but with the Zeo, users wear a headband that sends wireless signals to your smart phone. The headband signals include information about your brain waves, your eye movements and your muscle tone. With this information, the smart phone app determines the quality of your sleep.
If wearing a head band to sleep is not your cup of tea, it is not mine, yet another device called the Fitbit, also monitors heart rate and sleep. The Fitbit monitor measures can be worn on your belt, as an arm band, around your chest or on your wrist. It measures motion and heart rate as you sleep and then provides the user with a "sleep quality" measurement.
Other sleep measurement technologies such as the iPhone/iPad app called the Renew SleepClock , do not require a headband or other form of monitor. The way these apps work is by having your iPhone or IPad “watch” you while you sleep. Using information it gathers about your movement levels, the app developers report that they can provide an accurate measurement of your quality of sleep.
Lack of sleep worsens ADHD a lot. Sleep is so important that I devoted an entire chapter to it in my book Commanding Attention. I am bit skeptical about movement or “watching” apps providing an accurate picture of your sleep quality but these apps will only improve in the future and with the information that these new technology tools provide we could determine how and if sleep quality may be contributing to ADHD symptoms. Apps such as these will also help us determine if sleep improvement measures such as sleep hygiene programs or supplements such as chamomile tea or Melatonin are working.
One more device on the horizon holds promise for the monitoring of ADHD symptoms. This devide is intended for physician use and is currently being tested by the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche. The device is called the iBrain. This single channel EEG headset is similar to the NeuroSky and the Emotiv Life Sciences headsets that I mentioned in the first technology tool post. It is being tested as an easy to use monitor that will provide physicians with brain wave information and give them feedback regarding how well prescribed brain and mood enhancing drugs are working. So far, the company has only stated that the device is useful for the diagnosis of sleep disorders. Information on how well this device can assess a patient’s brain for improvements in conditions such as epilepsy or ADHD is still, however, unavailable.
I am excited about all these new tools. As both a health care provider, a parent of children with ADHD and as a consumer, I believe the future will hold even more wonders. The very best thing about new personal monitoring technology is that they give us a window to look through to see what is going on in our body. Better and newer technology will provide us with even more information. I believe more information is always better. I can’t wait until tomorrow.