Wednesday, February 22, 2017

'Mirror game' test could secure early detection of schizophrenia, study shows

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "Virtual reality could hold the key to unlocking an affordable, reliable and effective device to provide early diagnosis and management of schizophrenia. A pioneering new study, led by experts from the University of Exeter in collaboration with partners from the Alterego FP7 EU project, has developed a new, 'mirror game' test using computer avatars to accurately detect specific variations in how patients move and interact socially -- well-documented characteristics of the mental disorder. For the study, the research team asked volunteers to perform a series of specific movements on their own, and then mirror some movements carried out by a computer avatar on a large screen placed opposite them. The results of these first trials revealed that the test gave a more accurate diagnosis when compared to clinical interviews, and comparable results when compared to more expensive, traditional neuroimaging methods, the team has concluded."That is good if they can detect it early and save people from becoming ill.  I know I would have liked to have known.  That is the part I hated about this illness was when I became sick and was not in control of my life anymore.
The article goes on to say: "'They believe it could open up new, unobtrusive pathways for health professionals to diagnose and treat schizophrenia in the future. They are now looking at conducting clinical trials to confirm the effectiveness of the early detection technique, before it can be employed in clinical practices worldwide. The study is published in leading scientific journal npj Schizophrenia.
Dr Piotr Slowinski, lead author of the study and a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, explained: "Human movement can give a fascinating and sophisticated insight into our personality traits and behavioral characteristics. 'Studying how people move and react to others may seem a simplistic way to help diagnose a patient with such a debilitating condition, but our results were comparable to existing, more expensive neuroimaging methods. 'Although this is still at a relatively early stage, we are confident that clinical trials could reveal the potential of the mirror test to produce a reliable, adaptable and, crucially, affordable, method for diagnosing and monitoring treatment of schizophrenia in patients of all ages, and all stages of the condition.' Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that affects around one in 100 people worldwide with common symptoms such as delusions and auditory hallucinations, or hearing voices. At present, there is no single test for schizophrenia and the condition is usually diagnosed after assessment by specialists in mental health.'"That they can tell before a relapse or something happens would be great.  I did not know when I relapsed all I know I was not the same person of a few days before.  I was taking my medication but they had lowered it to much. I am glad I am on Geodon now it helps a lot.  Although I did not want to change medication because I was scared of getting sick again.
The article ends with: "However, the team of experts previously showed that people who display similar behavioural characteristics tend to move their bodies in the same way. The study suggested each person has an individual motor signature (IMS), a blueprint of the subtle differences in the way they move compared to someone else, such as speed or weight of movement. The team suggested that a person's IMS -- and how they interact with others -- could give an insight into their mental health condition, and so pave the way for personalised prediction, diagnosis or treatment in the future. In their research, the team used a simple mirror game, in which a 'player' is asked to imitate the movements made by an on-screen avatar. By looking at how the patients move and react to others, and compare it with 'comparable' movement blueprints for schizophrenia sufferers, the team believe the test can give not only an accurate and quick diagnosis, but also demonstrate how well patients are reacting to ongoing treatment. Professor Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova, who specialises in Mathematics in Healthcare at the University of Exeter, added: "We have already shown that people who move in a certain way also react in similar ways when performing joint tasks, meaning that our movements give an insight into our inherent personality traits. 'This latest study is a pivotal step forward in using virtual reality as a means to carry out speedy and effective diagnosis, which is crucial for so many people who suffer from this debilitating condition worldwide.'" Yeah because when I first became sick they told my Mom that I would have to go in and say it myself that I was sick.  I do not think at the time I would have I was bettering my life and did not need any setbacks.  That is what I received though a setback that cost me five years of my life in the State Hospital. I learned a lot but I think I could have learned for free.

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