G. Valenza, M. Nardelli, A. Lanat`a, C. Gentili, G. Bertschy, R. Paradiso, and E. P. Scilingo
Current clinical practice in diagnosing patients affected by psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder is based only on verbal interviews and scores from specific questionnaires, and no reliable and objective psycho-physiological markers are taken into account. In this paper, we propose to use a wearable system based on a comfortable t-shirt with integrated fabric electrodes and sensors able to acquire electrocardiogram, respirogram and body posture information in order to detect a pattern of objective physiological parameters to support the diagnosis of bipolar disorders. Moreover, we implemented a novel ad-hoc methodology of advanced biosignal processing able to effectively recognize four possible clinical mood states in bipolar patients (i.e. depression, mixed state, hypomania, and euthymia) continuously monitored up to 18 hours, using heart rate variability information exclusively. Mood assessment is intended as an intra-subject evaluation in which the patient’s states are modeled as a Markov chain, i.e., in the time domain, each mood state refers to the previous one. As validation, eight bipolar patients were monitored collecting and analyzing more than 400 hours of autonomic and cardiovascular activity. Experimental results demonstrate that our novel concept of personalized and pervasive monitoring constitutes a viable and robust clinical decision support system for bipolar disorders recognizing mood states with a total classification accuracy up to 95.81%.