Predicting Psychotic Relapse in Schizophrenia With Mobile Sensor Data: Routine Cluster Analysis

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2022 Apr 11;10(4):e31006. doi: 10.2196/31006.


Background: Behavioral representations obtained from mobile sensing data can be helpful for the prediction of an oncoming psychotic relapse in patients with schizophrenia and the delivery of timely interventions to mitigate such relapse.

Objective: In this study, we aim to develop clustering models to obtain behavioral representations from continuous multimodal mobile sensing data for relapse prediction tasks. The identified clusters can represent different routine behavioral trends related to daily living of patients and atypical behavioral trends associated with impending relapse.

Methods: We used the mobile sensing data obtained from the CrossCheck project for our analysis. Continuous data from six different mobile sensing-based modalities (ambient light, sound, conversation, acceleration, etc) obtained from 63 patients with schizophrenia, each monitored for up to a year, were used for the clustering models and relapse prediction evaluation. Two clustering models, Gaussian mixture model (GMM) and partition around medoids (PAM), were used to obtain behavioral representations from the mobile sensing data. These models have different notions of similarity between behaviors as represented by the mobile sensing data, and thus, provide different behavioral characterizations. The features obtained from the clustering models were used to train and evaluate a personalized relapse prediction model using balanced random forest. The personalization was performed by identifying optimal features for a given patient based on a personalization subset consisting of other patients of similar age.

Results: The clusters identified using the GMM and PAM models were found to represent different behavioral patterns (such as clusters representing sedentary days, active days but with low communication, etc). Although GMM-based models better characterized routine behaviors by discovering dense clusters with low cluster spread, some other identified clusters had a larger cluster spread, likely indicating heterogeneous behavioral characterizations. On the other hand, PAM model-based clusters had lower variability of cluster spread, indicating more homogeneous behavioral characterization in the obtained clusters. Significant changes near the relapse periods were observed in the obtained behavioral representation features from the clustering models. The clustering model-based features, together with other features characterizing the mobile sensing data, resulted in an F2 score of 0.23 for the relapse prediction task in a leave-one-patient-out evaluation setting. The obtained F2 score was significantly higher than that of a random classification baseline with an average F2 score of 0.042.

Conclusions: Mobile sensing can capture behavioral trends using different sensing modalities. Clustering of the daily mobile sensing data may help discover routine and atypical behavioral trends. In this study, we used GMM-based and PAM-based cluster models to obtain behavioral trends in patients with schizophrenia. The features derived from the cluster models were found to be predictive for detecting an oncoming psychotic relapse. Such relapse prediction models can be helpful in enabling timely interventions.

Keywords: Gaussian mixture models; balanced random forest; clustering; dynamic time warping; machine learning; mobile phone; partition around medoids; psychotic relapse; routine; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia* / therapy