NIH’s app challenge takes drug abuse research mobile

NIH’s app challenge takes drug abuse research mobile

The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking to develop a mobile application that will explore the roots of drug abuse and help advance research on abuse and addiction.

The recently announced “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that” challenge aims to engage the broader research and developer communities to develop apps for addition research. The future tool is to be used only for scientific research purposes, according to the FedBizOpps notice, as opposed to the array of already-available apps focused on self-help, education or self-wellness monitoring.

The app is to be built with Apple's ResearchKit software development framework, which is designed specifically for biomedical research and minimizes the development of custom code. NIDA is looking for an app that addiction researchers can use in future studies that will leverage information from participants using mobile devices.

This mobile technology assessment is intended to help NIDA predict drug use and address the multiple causes and effects of addiction, including biological, behavioral, social, cultural, economic and environmental, rather than just one factor in isolation. With a mobile app-based platform, NIDA can recruit a larger number of participants from different locations as they go about their daily lives, collecting data on a wide range of variables.

NIDA’s plan is to track the lifestyle choices, nutrition, stress, social life, work and home activities, genetics and technology exposure of participants, in hopes of better understanding what encourages the avoidance of or surrender to drug abuse.

Challenge submissions may not contain any data about real people, and must comply with all institution laws and regulations, but should be designed to be used in future clinical research studies with human subjects. The submission period ends on April 29, 2016.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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