It's hardly surprising that clinically depressed people act differently than healthy people. Quantifying the difference, however, can be difficult. Now a collaboration of physicists and psychiatrists in Japan has found a way to clearly and objectively measure depression.
The researchers outfitted both healthy control subjects and depressed patients with accelerometers to continuously measure their motions over 5-day periods. Although activity levels in all of the subjects followed power-law patterns (a type of distribution that often turns up in physics studies of natural systems) the activity levels of depressed patients were clearly distinguished from healthy subjects by a number known as the scaling parameter. For patients with major depression, the scaling parameter is significantly smaller than it is for healthy subjects.
It can be a challenge to spot differences in behavior between depressed and healthy individuals via simple observation, and self-reported depression assessments are often unreliable. Applying instrumentation and statistical analyses common in physics research could dramatically improve the reliability and accuracy in measurements of depression, and may help in tailoring appropriate treatments for the debilitating ailment.
Source: T. Nakamura, K. Kiyono, K. Yoshiuchi, R. Nakahara, Z. R. Struzik, and Y. Yamamoto, Physical Review Letters
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- My Applied National Security Paper. Being President Isn't For Idiots.
- Why An Extra Planet Can't Be Hidden Behind The Sun Or Above The South Pole
- Hugh Hefner's Wife Was Not Poisoned By Breast Implants
- Watering Solar Cells Makes Them Grow ... In Power!
- Why Has Organic Farming Flatlined?
- Top Scientists Chastise Greenpeace
- I am Sorry Retractions and First Ever Book Recommendation
- "If something was about to hit us how will we find out before ..."
- "You have a point. I grew up on an organic farm long before those were cool - it was called being..."
- "The same argument applies to all and any possible dates. Ask them which constellation it is in..."
- "No, because the whole thing is smoke and mirrors, it's impossible. If anyone says there's a planet..."
- Opercular index score: A novel approach for determining clinical outcomes in stroke
- Cataclysm at Meteor Crater: Crystal sheds light on Earth, moon, Mars
- Workforce processes prior to mechanical thrombectomy vary widely, new study finds
- Male frogs have sex on land to keep competitors away
- Cord blood outperforms matched, unrelated donor in bone marrow transplant