AI Treating Depression


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Studies find that more than one in five U.S. adults suffered with depression during the last few years. This number is over 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 percent of patients. That’s why researchers are working on a more personalized approach. AI treating depression

Robert Mason recalls what it was like being depressed.

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

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,” mentions Jyoti Mishra, PhD, MBA, neuroscientist at UCSD.

(Read Full Interview)

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.

Mishra says, “We would see things like, how they slept, whether it was consistently or inconsistently, determining their depression. 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, and another person might get evidence based physical activity training,” Mishra further explains.

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.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5089

BACKGROUND: Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting seven percent, or more than 16 million American adults each year. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide. Depression can occur to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. Most individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, but more than a third of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.


DIAGNOSING: Those who suffer from depression typically have multiple episodes, and may experience symptoms such as feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, loss of interest in most or all normal activities, sleep disturbances, reduced appetite or increased cravings for food, anxiety, self-blame, trouble thinking, thoughts of death, and/or physical problems, such as back pain or headaches. If someone feels depressed, they should make an appointment to see a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible and if they are reluctant to seek treatment, they should talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else they trust.


NEW STUDY: Penn Medicine researchers have found that clinically depressed older individuals don’t have elevated levels of inflammation if they don’t already have other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. This study, published recently in Nature Translational Psychiatry, shows that depression occurs independently of inflammation for many older adults, and that depression-inflammation links are due to the greater incidence of inflammatory conditions, which in general are common in older people. The link between depression and inflammation is not as clear-cut as the prior literature suggests. Penn Medicine researchers have used online and in-person screenings of over 1,100 depressed individuals to recruit a group of 63 individuals, age 50 to 80, who met criteria for major depressive disorder but did not have other inflammatory conditions. Comparing this group to 29 healthy individuals of the same age, even with highly sensitive measurements, the researchers found no significant differences in bloodstream levels of 29 different inflammation-linked immune proteins.



Michelle Brubaker

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If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Jyoti Mishra, PhD, MBA, Neuroscientist

Read the entire Q&A