March 21, 2019 4:34pm
London-based researchers are personalizing treatment for mental disorders with the help of artificial intelligence.
Dr. Lena Palaniyappan, a Robarts Research Institute scientist, is leading the Canadian arm of the collaborative study with five European centres. He and his research team will collect brain scans and genetic information from more than 60,000 patients between May 2019 and December 2022 in order to understand the mechanisms of mental illness.
“The translational portion of this is applying this information to clinic. How genes and brain networks interact to cause mental disorders, and how we can use this information to match patients to specific treatment choices,” Palaniyappan said in a statement.
The study will specifically examine the transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for patients with psychosis at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute. The treatment uses magnetic pulses to stimulate a specific group of neurons, but has only been effective in one-third of patients.
“We want to know if there are clear markers that show who will respond to this treatment, and who will not. This will help reduce the burden of failed treatment trials for this challenging illness,” said Palaniyappan.
Using artificial intelligence, researchers believe they will be able to identify any patterns of clinical use and train the computer to recognize expected patterns and predict the treatment’s effectiveness in new patients.
This is the first time this form of magnetic stimulation treatment will be used on psychosis patients in London. Previously, the treatment has only been used for depression.
Researchers in Mannheim, Germany, Munich, Germany, Oslo, Norway, Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Montpellier, France are all collecting data for the study.