Online Test Matches Patients with Anti-Depressants

Researchers are hoping to the replace the trial-and-error method of prescribing drugs with an algorithm based on the patient’s cognitive patterns.

Antidepressant / Image: Mira/Alamy Stock Photo
Antidepressant / Image: Mira/Alamy Stock Photo

Selecting medication for a patient with depression is often times a shot in the dark. If a 12-week trial treatment doesn’t work, both time and money are wasted with no improvement in the patient’s quality of life. A December 25th article from The Guardian reported that researchers at Trinity College Dublin are creating an online tool aimed at predicting the effectiveness of an antidepressant for an individual patient.

A study will collect data from over 1,000 people around the world who are beginning treatment with their first antidepressants. Subjects will participate in cognitive online tests in the form of games that will give researchers clues as to how they make decisions, how confident they are, and how they form habits. Participants will track their symptoms, and the data will feed the algorithm that will eventually match individuals with antidepressants. The team hopes to eventually expand the algorithm to inform talking therapies and counseling in order encompass all available treatments for people with depression.

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