Social Value Creation Research

Development and validation of digital healthcare technology using cognitive behavioral therapy

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor / Eiji SHIMIZU

  • Affiliation

    Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University / Research Center for Child Mental Development

  • Researchmap


Japan is known for being a country of longevity, in fact, it is one of the best in the world in terms of its population’s physical health. However, Japan falls behind in terms of mental health, therefore, advancement in mental health research is strongly needed. To improve mental health, it is important for people who need “cognitive behavioral therapy” to engage in psychotherapy, which is as effective as the typical drug therapy to treat depression and anxiety. Therefore, research on digital treatments providing cognitive behavioral therapy through a computer application is underway worldwide.
This study aims to promote health care through the development of digital therapeutics based on cognitive-behavioral therapy for a wide range of mental and physical problems such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, pain, eating disorders, lifestyle diseases, or developmental disorders. Once the technology’s effects on patients are clarified and proved, everyone can use this application. To solve issues related to insomnia, for example, our smartphone AI avatar will ask you to enter your thoughts and behavioral patterns, such as those related to sleepless anxiety, in a diary for about four weeks in our newly developed cognitive-behavioral therapy app. Based on the entered data, your avatar will suggest how you can improve your habits.
In addition, by combining entered data with sensing devices, such as wearable electroencephalographs, accelerometers, facial expression recognition technology, or vocal language processing technology, the app’s functions and performance will be consistently updated.

For those whose symptoms cannot be successfully alleviated by the app, a system to provide video conference-based cognitive behavioral therapy with experts will be available to patients.
Besides insomnia, we have developed cognitive-behavioral therapy apps for other mental and physical disorders: panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, obesity, and chronic pain. These applications’ effects will be investigated and put to practical use. Moreover, we are developing a line-of-sight training device to treat social anxiety disorder, which is often characterized by a strong fear of being watched and judged by others in social situations.
Among other functions, this device will praise you when you make eye contact with a person in the real world. We hope such a device will help people with autism spectrum disorder to meet other people and enjoy communicating with them.

Development and validation of digital healthcare technology using cognitive behavioral therapy
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Eiji SHIMIZU's Article / News Release