SOMA – an app to monitor bodily symptoms

Every fifth patient who sees a general practitioner presents with at least five medically unexplained bodily symptoms. Many of these symptoms are thought to have a brain-based origin. But since no diagnostic tests exist, patients typically endure a long journey through medical institutions before finding help. Researchers are using non-invasive readouts of how the brain processes bodily information as diagnostic markers. They will develop such markers using a combination of mathematical modeling, smartphone-based body-perception games and symptom-monitoring.

Potential Impact

The goal of this project is to build an evidence-based quantitative basis for diagnostic testing and new forms of treatment for psychogenic somatic symptoms. Such a basis could benefit thousands of people every year who suffer from medically unexplained bodily symptoms, chronic pain or functional neurological disorder by ultimately providing them the treatment, respect and hope that they deserve.

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Research Leads

  • Frederike Petzschner

    Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Co-Director, BRAINSTORM Program

Project Staff

  • Benjamin Andrew

    Senior Research Assistant

  • Bradford Roarr

    Senior Research Software Engineer

  • Rashi Dhar

    Undergraduate Student

  • Louis Rakovich

    Rhode Island School of Design