A tool with good potential for predicting depression, called “predictD,” is now online for use by anyone who has a computer and an Internet connection. Although there are many depression assessments on the web, this is the only one based on empirical research of a depression-assessment algorithm for predicting the issue. Participating researchers believe the tool can be used by medical practitioners. The research study included 5,216 study participants in England, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, and another 1,732 in Chile.
The 39-question instrument was tested on adults who were not depressed at the time and included age, physical health, and family history of psychological problems. Over 85% of participants remained in the study and were evaluated for depression. The researchers reported significantly positive results, similar to those found with the algorithm developed in Europe for prediction of cardiovascular events that is now used widely.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the number of years lived with depression, is greater than with any other disability worldwide. They say it’s the fourth-leading cause of premature death and loss of productivity, and expected to be the second by 2020. Depression can become disabling when eating, sleeping, with self-care, concentration, and other activities of life.
One of the primary researchers, professor Michael King, University College London, Department of Mental Health Sciences, said “recognition of those at risk could help with watchful waiting or active support, such as restarting treatment in patients with a history of depression. Patients could also be advised on the nature of depression or on cognitive behavior therapies to help reduce their risk of developing major depression.”
Further randomized trials are planned for Europe. The project’s investigators hope to test it in China, too.
© Copyright 2008 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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