Digital twins are already being used in areas such as aircraft and automotive design. So what do they have to do with mental health? Can we make a digital model of a living molecular system?
For most physical illnesses, there are objective tests to determine what a patient’s issue is. Currently, diagnosis of mental health conditions is more subjective, as it relies on patient’s descriptions of their own symptoms. What if digital tools could identify biomarkers which were clearly linked to specific mental illnesses?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness affecting around 20 million people worldwide and is most common in young men (according to the World Health Organisation). How are the tools of genetics and AI being used to improve treatment?
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health illnesses, affecting 264 million and 284 million people worldwide, respectively – equivalent to 3.4% and 3.8% of the global population. However, it’s thought that many cases are unreported – the real figures are expected to be double what is recorded. What’s going on at a molecular level in the brain during depression and anxiety? How does medication change this?
Mental health is the sum of our psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. Combined, these help us cope with life’s difficulties. Yet a worryingly substantial proportion of the population will suffer from poor mental health at some point in their lives. This is the first in a series of blogs exploring the molecular basis of mental health, and how a molecular perspective can help develop new treatments.