Computer Program Has The Ability To Gauge Mental Illness Risk

A new study reports that computer programs are able to use brain scans to distinguish between healthy individuals and those at risk of developing anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the research suggests that software may someday be able to predict exactly which at-risk adolescents will develop one of those diseases.

The research program is focused on early detection of psychiatric maladies because most such disorders first begin to manifest during adolescence, and it is then that treatments may be most effective at stopping or preventing them. Currently, although a computer may be able to tell that a person with certain risk factors has a 15 percent chance of developing major depression, it cannot tell exactly which patient will finally manifest the disease. This largely stems from the lack of a single biomarker for each disease.

To judge the computer's ability to gauge mental illness risk, the computer analyzed 32 healthy adolescents—16 who had one bipolar parent, and 16 who had parents without mental illnesses. Each participant was required to label a series of faces as being either happy, neutral, or scared while being monitored by a functional magnetic resonance imaging device.

Using the MRI results, the computer was task with sorting the participants into groups of "healthy" versus "at-risk" individuals. The computer was correct in its estimation of each person's individual risk approximately three-fourths of the time. The highest rate of success was achieved using the scans taken when looking at neutral faces, confirming earlier research which suggested that people with mood disorders tend to be ambivalent or fearful toward neutral faces.

Source: PLoS One
Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

If you're contemplating starting medication for an anxiety disorder, you no doubt have discovered that there are literally dozens of prescription...

Everyone suffers symptoms of anxiety now and then, and for many people anxiety is a chronic problem. But not all who suffer from anxiety...

Drinking coffee makes you jumpy. Caffeine makes you jittery, it messes up your sleep cycle, and in large enough amounts, it becomes...

The University of Central Florida newspaper published an article about an interesting clinical trial at the UCF Anxiety Disorders Clinic in the...

An article from Prevention provides a list of 6 strange physical symptoms of stress that you may not even associate with too much stress in your...

More Articles

If you reach adolescence or adulthood with little or no self-confidence, what do you do? Faking it (confidence) until you make it is a stretch for...

If you're contemplating starting medication for an anxiety disorder, you no doubt have discovered that there are literally dozens of prescription...

The revised psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-5, has an interesting addition: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

So ladies, if...

As anyone who has experienced one knows, anxiety attacks are very frightening episodes of intense fear or panic. In addition to the severe...

A report in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity concludes that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and reduce anxiety. The study...

Whether you’re a graduate student preparing for your finals or an aspiring real estate developer who needs to get a license, test anxiety affects...

How should this anxiety medication be used?

Xanax or Alprazolam, comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or...

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a mix of mindfulness meditation and simple yoga poses. It has been proven to help people reduce...

Sometimes emotional distress, such as anxiety, can lead to difficulty swallowing or the fear of choking. Most people might take swallowing for...

An individual who avoids situations that could cause him or her to experience intense fear may fit the diagnostic criteria for agoraphobia. This...

Anxiety medication is one of the effective treatments for anxiety disorders that have been developed through research. There are two types of...

The antidepressant Nardil, in the class of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), is also frequently prescribed as a...

Is it true that you can ease anxiety by relaxing with a soothing cup of tea? In general, tea is known for it's calming benefits. Sitting down with...

Death anxiety is the fear we experience when contemplating or facing our own mortality. Like much of our anxiety, it is an anticipation of pain...

Meditation has a reputation among some in the west as being akin to religious practice and for that reason, something mystical or reserved for...