About this Research Topic
Chronic disorders and the research field of neuroscience are two sides of the same coin. However, the assessment of many chronic disorders is still a challenging issue for researchers, medical doctors, and healthcare professionals. While researchers mainly focus how to reveal valuable data sources, medical doctors crave for new therapies in their daily clinical practice. In line with these drawbacks, the ongoing proliferation of mobile devices may constitute a development that can be utilized in this context. In particular, mobile devices may constitute a shift in the way how patient data is collected. Moreover, the collection procedure can be accomplished in everyday life. The latter, in turn, offers dramatically new opportunities. For example, for many individuals suffering from a chronic disorder, their symptoms vary over time. However, established assessment methods neither systematically assess this moment-to-moment variability nor environmental factors having an effect on many chronic disorders. However, information of individual fluctuations and the effect of environmental factors might represent important information for new research insights or be the basis for a more individualized treatment. In this context, new technical solutions emerged that cope with the aforementioned assessment demands. One promising approach for collecting ecological valid longitudinal datasets at rather low costs constitutes mobile crowdsensing. Interestingly, projects like TrackYourTinnitus were already able to reveal new medical insights. For example, results on prospective reports vs. retrospective ratings of tinnitus variability and tinnitus-stress associations were reported. In general, only little is known to what degree such retrospective reports reflect the actual experiences made in everyday life. In general, technical solutions like the mentioned crowdsensing platform may be a valuable target to help the patients to demystify their chronic disorder and to get better control of it. Moreover, researchers in the context of neuroscience and chronic disorders can be provided with more valuable data sources. However, when using this new way of data collection in the context of neuroscience and chronic disorders, research questions emerge that must be carefully taken into account, e.g.:
- What are the drawbacks and limitations of such data sets?
- What means data quality in this context?
- Can we derive guidelines to establish standardized mobile data collection procedures?
- Can we actually derive new insights in the context of the moment-to-moment variability of patients?
- Can we derive adjustment factors to this new kind of data?
- Is this kind of data only new wine into old wineskins or constitutes mobile data collection a disruptive innovation in the context of neuroscience and chronic disorders?
- What role plays the ecological momentary assessment (EMA; also known as ambulatory assessment & experience sampling) in this context?
- What role plays data security and data privacy in this context?
- How do we cope with ethical aspects?
- What are the general risks of this new kind of data collection?
- Should we consider threats that arise with mobile technology in general?
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