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Mental Health Innovation and Dr. Tom Insel: from the NIMH to Google/ Verily Life Sciences to Startup Mindstrong

For­mer Alpha­bet exec is work­ing on an idea to detect men­tal health dis­or­ders by how you type on your phone (CNBC):

Can a smart­phone detect whether a user is sui­ci­dal or depressed?

That’s the promise of an explod­ing num­ber of men­tal health entre­pre­neurs, who are explor­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to mon­i­tor users’ smart­phone behav­ior to detect a vari­ety of symp­toms — all with their con­sent. Read the rest of this entry »

Shall we question the brand new book of human troubles

With three years still left until pub­li­ca­tion, the fights over the new ver­sion of the psy­chi­atric diag­nos­tic man­u­al, the DSM-V, are hot­ting up and The New York Times has a bookcon­cise arti­cle that cov­ers most of the main point of con­tention.

- “What you have in the end,  Mr. Short­er said, “is this process of sort­ing the deck of symp­toms into syn­dromes, and the out­come all depends on how the cards fall.

- Psy­chi­a­trists involved in prepar­ing the new man­u­al con­tend that it is too ear­ly to say for sure which cards will be added and which dropped.

Although I doubt the DSM com­mit­tee are using that exact metaphor, it cer­tain­ly illus­trates the point that the process requires a cer­tain degree of val­ue-judge­ment.

It’s inter­est­ing, how­ev­er, that the pub­lic debate is cur­rent­ly focused on whether cer­tain diag­noses should be includ­ed or not, rather than whether diag­no­sis itself is use­ful for psy­chi­a­try.

We’ve had psy­cho­met­rics for a good 100 years that allow us to mea­sure dimen­sions of human expe­ri­ence and per­for­mance with a much greater degree of accu­ra­cy than Read the rest of this entry »

Neurofeedback/ Quantitative EEG for ADHD diagnosis

Like all psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders, ADHD is diag­nosed based on the pres­ence of par­tic­u­lar behav­ioral symp­toms that are judged to cause sig­nif­i­cant impair­ment in an individual’s func­tion­ing, and not on the results of a spe­cif­ic test. In fact, recent­ly pub­lished ADHD eval­u­a­tion guide­lines from the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Pedi­atrics (AAP) explic­it­ly state that no par­tic­u­lar diag­nos­tic test should be rou­tine­ly used when eval­u­at­ing a child for ADHD.

While most ADHD experts would agree that no sin­gle test could or should be used in iso­la­tion to diag­nose ADHD, there are sev­er­al impor­tant rea­sons why the avail­abil­i­ty of an accu­rate objec­tive test would be use­ful.

First, many chil­dren do not receive a care­ful and com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment for ADHD but are instead diag­nosed with based on eval­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures that are far from opti­mal.

Sec­ond, although AAP guide­lines indi­cate that spe­cif­ic diag­nos­tic tests should not be rou­tine­ly used, many par­ents are con­cerned about the lack of objec­tive pro­ce­dures in their child’s eval­u­a­tion. In fact, many fam­i­lies do not pur­sue treat­ment for ADHD because the the absence of objec­tive eval­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures leads them to ques­tion the diag­no­sis. You can read a review of an inter­est­ing study on this issue at www.helpforadd.com/2006/january.htm

For these rea­sons an accu­rate and objec­tive diag­nos­tic test for ADHD could be of val­ue in many clin­i­cal sit­u­a­tions. Two impor­tant con­di­tions would have to be met for such a test to be use­ful.

First, it would have to be high­ly sen­si­tive to Read the rest of this entry »

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