Friday Factoids: Can AI Detect COVID Cough?

As of November of 2020, there have been more than 225,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States alone. One of biggest barriers during this pandemic is the inability to test for COVID-19 at a global scale. However, this does not mean that researchers have not been working around the clock to develop a screening tool. One research team is currently developing and testing an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered screening solution for COVID-19 called A14COVID-19, which is deployable via a smartphone app. The app records and sends three 3-second cough sounds to an AI engine operating in the cloud and returns results within two minutes.

 

Coughing is a symptom of over thirty related medical conditions, which makes the diagnosis of COVID-19 by cough alone very challenging. However, the research team investigated the distinctness of pathomorphological alteration in the respiratory system induced by COVID-19 infection when compared to other respiratory infections. They found that their app can distinguish among COVID-19 coughs and several types of non-COVID-19 coughs.

 

The accuracy of the study was promising enough to encourage a large-scale collection of labeled cough data to examine the generalization capability of the app. While the app is not a clinical grade testing tool, it is a screening tool that can be deployed anytime, anywhere, by anyone. It can also be used to assist clinical decisions to channel clinical-testing and treatment to those who need it most.

 

References

Imran, A., Posokhova, I., Qureshi, H. N., Masood, U., Riaz, S., Ali, K., John, C., Hussain, I., & Nabeel, M. (2020). AI4COVID-19: AI enabled preliminary diagnosis for COVID-19 from cough samples via an app. Informatics in Medicine Unlocked, 20(1).

 

 

James Bender, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

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Article Review: Neuropsychological Deficits as Caused by the Coronavirus and the Role of the Neuropsychologist

With such a novel virus, little research has thus been compiled to fully understand the long term negative effects on neuropsychological functioning. While it is suspected that long-term physical implications may persist after recovering from COVID-19, it is yet unclear what kind of persisting issues may remain cognitively and psychologically. This article review aimed to investigate possible implications for the current COVID-19 pandemic by examining a 2020 article by Rabinovitz, Jaywant, & Fridman in which researchers explored existing literature on similar coronaviruses and the effects of undergoing long-term treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU).

 

Previous strains of the coronavirus such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are thought to have had neuro-invasive and neuro-virulent properties and the ability to cause central nervous system impairments through several possible mechanisms such as; hypoxia-mediated injury, brain barrier disruption, inducing a pro-inflammatory state, neuronal degeneration, edema, seizure development, altered consciousness, infection of the cerebrospinal fluid, encephalitis, motor deficits, meningitis, ataxia, hyper-intensities within brain structures, and possible potential to impact the function of glial cells. Other implications for psychiatric related symptoms included that of increased depressed mood, delirium, anxiety, and insomnia (Rabinovitz, Jaywant, & Fridman, 2020).

 

Similarly, for individuals who have been in the ICU for extended periods of time, discharge does not always mean dissipation of symptoms. A recent study on the novel COVID-19 found that 58/64 patients who were admitted to the ICU and had been discharged after recovering, showed executive functioning difficulties in areas of attention, orientation, and command organization (Rabinovitz, Jaywant, & Fridman, 2020). Another study also showed that 33% of individuals who were discharged experienced difficulties with similar cognitive functioning symptoms and added that in some patients symptoms may largely go away after a year, yet for many the weaknesses in memory, processing speed, attention, and executive functioning can likely persist and they may never return to baseline functioning (Rabinovitz, Jaywant, & Fridman, 2020).

 

Because most research has been compiled through case studies or small sample sizes, it is difficult to ascertain whether any, many, or several of these neurocognitive impairments may take place for any given individual. However, it is important to note that it is entirely possible but largely unknown due to the novelty of the virus, as this disallows for long-term longitudinal research to have been completed due to its ongoing nature. To help the situation, neuropsychologists are encouraged to examine patients, perform cognitive screenings, and gather information while hospitalized with COVID-19 and following discharge, both immediately and longitudinally, to better understand the long-term implications of coronavirus strains. Neuropsychologists can also be helpful in providing brief psychotherapeutic interventions and psychoeducation regarding the possible/probable deficits that have been observed. As such, the teamwork of an interdisciplinary network is said to yield the best results and for this reason, an increased involvement in treatment on behalf of the neuropsychologist is certainly suggested.

 

 

References
Rabinovitz, B., Jaywant, A., & Fridman, C. B. (2020). Neuropsychological functioning in severe acute respiratory disorders caused by the coronavirus: Implications for the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 1-27. doi:10.1080/13854046.2020.1803408

 

 

Monica Babaian, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

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Friday Factoid: OCD and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in most of the world becoming more paranoid about contamination and handwashing. For those who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), this is no new problem. However, relapse for individuals who had their symptoms under control is now being seen, as is a significant exacerbation of OCD symptoms for individuals who have a history of contamination related obsessions and compulsions.

 

New cases of OCD are also being identified in large numbers. To add to the seriousness of the issue, the CDC has reported several recent cases of unintentional poisoning deaths related to inappropriate or excessive use of cleaning products. Given that there is an infectious pandemic going around, the line between rational adaptive behaviors and irrational behaviors becomes unclear. One such maladaptive behavior encompasses hoarding. The fear of contamination can lead to the behavior of hoarding cleaning products, medications, and masks which contributes to the shortage of supplies. OCD fears of contamination and infection can cause individuals to self-isolate in their homes and discontinue medications or therapy as a result, further worsening OCD symptoms. Individuals can also become susceptible to further risk of infection by over-washing and over-sanitizing to the extent of causing skin to break.

 

One thing is clear– There should be more recognition of the psychosocial implications that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing. To conclude, one article wrote, “The pandemic will eventually die down, but the increased frequency and intensity of this disturbing mental disorder will be an unfortunate aftermath for many months to come.”

 

References
Banerjee, D. D. (2020). The other side of COVID-19: Impact on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and hoarding. Psychiatry Research, 288, 112966. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112966

 

French, I., & Lyne, J. (2020). Acute exacerbation of OCD symptoms precipitated by media reports of COVID-19. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 1-4. doi:10.1017/ipm.2020.61

 

 

Monica Babaian, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

 

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Welcome 2020-2021 Interns!

 

Welcome to James Bender, Maria Stacy, and Monica Babaian!!  This will be a year in which we must take what COVID will allow–but we will, as our governor notes, get through this together. You are already brave, wise, and brilliant–so not far to go to become amazing clinicians!

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Friday Factoid: Altruism

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Why do we do good things for others? Altruism is the concept of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. It turns out that we might be willing to do good things for others because we want to be the best at it!!! Herman, Englemann, and Tommasello (2019) found that even children engage in altruistic behavior more frequently when children were competing with other children for being selected to be part of a group.

 

References

Herrmann, E., Engelmann, J. M., & Tomasello, M. (2019). Children engage in competitive altruism. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology179, 176–189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2018.11.008

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Friday Factoid: Prosopagnosia

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Some people are not able to recognize people by looking at their faces. It is a condition called prosopagnosia, and individuals with this condition often rely on other cues, such as voices, to recognize loved ones. It can be caused by damage to the occipitotemporal lobe of the brain.

 

References

Harris, A. M., & Aguirre, G. K. (2007). Prosopagnosia. Current Biology : Cb17(1), 7–8.

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Friday Factoid: Change Blindness

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Did you know that people have a tendency to overlook or “ignore” changes to their environment, even big ones, when there is something that disrupts a person’s vision for just an instant? People can use this phenomenon to play tricks on you when you least expect it.

 

References

Dretske, F. (2004). Change blindness. Philosophical Studies120(1-3), 1–18.

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Friday Factoid: Groupthink

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Why do people seem to make poor decisions when they are with a group? Groupthink is something that can occur when members of a group go along with the group’s choice without thinking about the merits of the decision. Getting along with your group members may actually increase the probability that this will happen and the group will make a poor decision.

 

References

Russell, J. S., Hawthorne, J., & Buchak, L. (2015). Groupthink. Philosophical Studies : An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition172(5), 1287–1309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-014-0350-8

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Friday Factoid: Infantile Amnesia

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Do you remember your 1st birthday… Me neither. There is a reason for this. Typically developing people will experience something called infantile or childhood amnesia, which is the inability of adults to recall memories from early childhood.

 

References

Memory from a to z : keywords, concepts, and beyond. Oxford University Press

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Friday Factoid: Superstition and Behaviorism

Sarah Watts, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Why do we have to wear the same socks to every baseball game? What makes us have superstitions, or unjustified beliefs in supernatural causes, for the outcome of different events. According to behavioral theorist, B. F. Skinner (1948), superstitions come from our behaviors being accidentally reinforced or rewarded. You wore your lucky socks and your baseball team won!

 

References

Skinner, B. F. (1948). ‘Superstition’ in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology38(2), 168–172. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0055873

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