Neuroscientists have created a mood decoder that can measure depression

Neuroscientists have created a mood decoder that can measure depression

Neuroscientists have created a mood decoder that can measure depression

Dougherty thinks Sheth’s research is “essential”. He adds: “Hopefully they can get enough data from a small group of people that we can get away from [implanting multiple temporary electrodes] .” He predicts that Sheth’s approach could identify a region of the brain worth targeting in most people with treatment-resistant depression, and that noninvasive brain scans will find the exact spot to implant the electrode.

Measure mood

Sheth and his colleagues also found differences between the three volunteers, and the team’s “mood decoder” was able to identify how each volunteer was feeling based on their brain activity.

He hopes that in the future, new technologies will allow him and others to collect this information non-invasively, perhaps using a device placed on a woman’s head. nobody. Such a device could be used to measure the severity of a person’s symptoms, he says.

Today, a person with symptoms of depression will usually be asked a series of questions to determine the severity of the condition. Having some sort of objective measurement, like readings from a brain scan, is a key goal for psychiatry, Dougherty says.

This could also be problematic, however. Brain scans may never be sensitive enough to account for individual differences in people’s brains when it comes to symptoms of depression, and they may miss signs in some people and overestimate them in others. Sheth also acknowledges the possibility that due to research like his, brain scans may one day be used to diagnose depression in someone who is obviously not ill or reveal it in someone who does not want it. she be known.

John, for his part, does not want others, especially potential employers, to know that he has a history of depression. “People don’t understand depression, and unfortunately they see it as a weakness,” he says.

“You can’t really argue that…we shouldn’t be trying to help all those millions and millions of people with depression…just because there’s a possibility of abuse,” Sheth says. “We have to find ways to help these people. The rest of society can help us put guardrails on how this technology should be used.

John’s electrodes are still delivering pulses of electrical stimulation deep into his brain. He charges the battery built into his chest every week. “As far as I know, if the stimulation stops, I’m back to square one,” he says. And while DBS doesn’t work for everyone for depression, “it saved my life,” he says.


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