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Using a Computer to Help Treat Mental Health

Experts are developing a genetic computer model that may eventually predict whether a patient going to suffer from a mental illness, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The researchers, from the University of Texas, Arlington; the University of Illinois; and the Beijing Genomics Institutes in Wuhan, China, published their findings in the journal Biomed Research International.

In their study, the investigators focused on designing a computer model for single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP networks, which regulate genes. The SNP networks can “visualize” how specific genes will act.

“We looked for the differences between our genetic computer network and the brain patterns of 130 patients from the University of Illinois,” said Jean Gao, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at UT Arlington.

“This work could lead to earlier diagnosis in the future and treatment for those patients suffering from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Early diagnosis allows doctors to provide timely treatments that may speed up aid to help affected patients. Our work will allow doctors to analyze a patient’s genetic pattern and apply the appropriate levels of personalized therapy.”

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