Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cutting-Edge Technology Could Change Mental Health Field

Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, Ph.D., et al.
On June 14, The Wall Street Journal profiled an 87-year-old man named Milton Greidinger, a homebound retiree. He was participating in a pilot virtual reality program for seniors that aims to help elderly New Yorkers living alone combat isolation and depression through modern technology.

Modern technology is being explored to benefit people's mental health in other ways as well. For example, University of Minnesota scientists are using some of the latest computer software technology to see whether there are differences in movements between children who remain healthy and those who will later develop a psychiatric disorder. Once a set of movement patterns that are associated with common childhood psychiatric disorders is established, the next step will be to conduct longitudinal studies to confirm whether such abnormalities represent risk markers for later development of psychiatric illness.

More information on the use of computer software technology to evaluate differences in movement between children who are healthy and those who may develop a psychiatric disorder can be found in Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/9/22.1.full.


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