TX doc creates iPhone app to screen for depression

A Texas emergency physician has developed a questionnaire for the iPhone and iPod Touch to help people screen themselves and loved ones for depression. "When I was in the ER, I had seen a lot of psychiatric patients," Dr. Harvey Castro told the Flower Mound Leader newspaper. "I saw many cases where they died or they tried to harm themselves. I thought that if they had gotten help earlier, there would have been a different outcome. I started wondering if putting a depression scale on an iPod would help these patients."

Castro first thought of the idea two years ago, and introduced the app, called Sad Scale, in April. Sad Scale incorporates four questionnaires, including a newly created one for detecting pediatric depression. The app has users rank the frequency of symptoms and emotions to come up with a score, and can email the results to the patient's personal physician--assuming, of course, that the doctor even uses email in medical practice.

Castro is working on an update so users can report their moods on a daily or weekly basis. He also has created apps to help nurses calculate IV dosages, and to teach cursive writing to children. He is awaiting approval from Apple of an app to measure stress.

To learn more about Sad Scale and Castro's other iPhone apps:
- have a look at this story in the Flower Mound (TX) Leader