Your Health: A more personalized approach to treating depression

Your Health: A more personalized approach to treating depression
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:34 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Studies suggest that more than 20% of American adults suffered with depression during the last few years.

This number is more than three times higher than before the pandemic. Diagnosis and treatment for depression is often the same for everyone - therapy and anti-depressants are usually prescribed, but research shows anti-depressants work for only 30% of patients.

That’s why researchers are working on a more personalized approach.

“For me, it was having no energy, no motivation,” Robert Mason said.

Isolation from the pandemic is just one trigger for depression. Others include genetics, lifestyle, lack of sleep or exercise and poor diet. Neuroscientists are using smart phones to create a more personalized approach to treat depression.

“We can get to know more about how a person is going about their daily lives,” said Dr. Jyoti Mishra.

Participants check in on an app three to four times a day for one month. Through their smart watch, researchers track sleep patterns, activity levels, diet, and aspects related to stress such as heart rate, stress, brain activity, and breathing.

“We would see things like how they slept, whether it was consistently or inconsistently, determining their depression,” Mishra said. “And for the very next person, we would see aspects of how active they were.”

Insight that helps doctors predict what triggers depression for each person and then get to the root of their problem.

“If I were to observe that a person’s depression is determined by their sleep, then in the next phase, what we’re going to do is provide that person evidence-based sleep treatment,” Mishra said. “And another person might get evidence based physical activity training.”

Researchers believe their findings could have broader implications than depression, and that anyone looking for greater well-being could benefit from information quantified from their own data.

More: Health stories

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