Before work with the mEMA System suicidal thinking was seen as a homogenous construct. Typically snapshot assessments were taken days, weeks, or months apart with missed the variation in suicidal thought that happens over hours. The available methodologies blunted our understanding.
A group from Harvard Medical School used the mEMA System for “digital phenotyping” – real-time characterization and quantification in human thought in situ.
They found five previously unknown distinct phenotypes of suicidal thought. there was a significant relationship between some of these phenotypes and a recent suicide attempt. This work has opened up a new avenue in the understanding of suicide and its prevention.