Lots of activities are happening in the world of digital medicine and music. It feels like we are getting one step closer toward creating multimedia streaming as digital therapeutic for depression. What’s happening?

Mobile apps. Two recent papers describe beneficial effects of mobile apps for treating depression. Mantani and colleagues report positive results from a randomized controlled clinical trial of using a smartphone app as adjunct therapy for people with refractory depression (www.jmir.org/2017/11/e373/). Firth and colleagues reviewed smartphone-based interventions for reducing depressive symptoms (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wps.20472/full). Please follow the links to these two open access publications for more information, but in summary:

Music. More research is being published about how music is effective in treating depression, and for the latest review please follow this link www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01109/full. Studies on how sad and happy music can affect our mind (www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14849-0), and how slow- and fast-tempo music can affect release of oxytocin (journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0189075) add to growing body of knowledge how to create music streaming algorithms which can turn music into “medicinal music”.

We already have two ready-to-be-merged components: mobile apps delivering behavioral therapy and music modulating our mood via arousal and valence. Where is a glue to join these two?

While still in its infancy, digital therapeutics industry is a glue ready to bring together mobile apps and music – creating mobile medical apps streaming behavioral therapy and music as digital therapy for depression. (BTW – among many terms and names of this industry, you may have heard about digital medicine, digital health, mobile health, mHealth and alike?)

What are the latest developments in the digital medicine world? This new industry just announced Digital Therapeutics Alliance (www.dtxalliance.org/). In September, the FDA cleared a mobile medical app reSET (by Pear Therapeutics peartherapeutics.com/) as prescription digital therapeutic for the treatment of substance use (addiction). In December, Akili Interactive (www.akiliinteractive.com/) announced positive results of the pivotal clinical trial of their videogame-based digital therapeutic AKL-T01 for the treatment of pediatric ADHD. Other companies started to engage mobile apps to engage people with depression during clinical trials (www.mobihealthnews.com/content/takeda-lundbeck-advocate-health-care-collaborate-depression-app-study).

We are ending our current blog post by sharing news about a big pharma company launching a mobile game app delivering fun and self-care for children with hemophilia

Thank you for reading.

PS. Our next blog will be about applications of digital medicine and music for the treatment of pain.