KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Providers Search For New Ways To Diagnose, Treat Mental Illness

Health care providers are trying to find tests and create new smartphone and tablet apps to better diagnose and treat mental illness.

NPR: Finding Simple Tests For Brain Disorders Turns Out To Be Complex
If you're having chest pain, your doctor can test you for a heart attack. If you're having hip pain, your doctor could test for osteoarthritis. But what if you're depressed? Or anxious? Currently there are no physical tests for most disorders that affect the mind. Lab tests like these could transform the field of mental illness. So far efforts to come up with biomarkers for common mental health disorders have proven largely fruitless. That doesn't stop people from trying (Standen, 7/8).

Boston Globe: Developers Creating Apps To Treat Mental Health Issues
Late at night, in the middle of a panic attack, 25-year-old Zoe Quinn used to get out of bed to play video games. By the light of her computer screen, she immersed herself in another universe, and her anxiety slipped away. Now, the Dorchester woman wants to make gaming for others what it was for her: a therapeutic, purposeful way out of dark times. Her passion makes her part of a growing movement among gamers and doctors alike to use the medium to educate the public and diagnose, and even treat depression or anxiety (Sathian, 7/8).

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