Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by delusions and hallucinations, such as hearing voices. People with schizophrenia also experience confusion and memory problems. Symptoms of schizophrenia typically begin to emerge when an individual is in their early 20s. Often, however, people go undiagnosed for years. New artificial intelligence technology may be able to predict the symptoms of schizophrenia earlier, which can help people with the condition get early treatment.
Harvard and Emory University researchers have developeda machine-learning approach to analyzing an individual's language for signs of psychosis. The system can detect subtle characteristics in the way someone speaks, which can be indicative of future mental illness. The system has been able to successfully evaluate the use of words and the semantic density to predict which individuals would develop future psychosis. Individuals who develop mental psychosis tend to have a vagueness to their language that the system can detect. They also implicitly talk about voices and sounds in their head. Using a technique called vector unpacking, researchers were able to measure a sentence's richness by dividing it into component vectors.
Researchers developed a “norm” for language using the online conversations of 30,000 Reddit users. It analyzed hundreds of conversations and developed a norm that consisted of 401 million words. The study then compared the language of the test subjects to this norm to determine if there were any differences.
Researchers then studied 40 participants who had been evaluated for schizophrenia. These individuals were then tested using the language system. Follow-ups were conducted every six months until they developed psychosis. Video recordings of interviews were taken, and then the artificial intelligence (AI) system evaluated the speech to determine if there were predictors of psychosis. The system was able to predict psychosis with 93% accuracy.
The use of this AI technology can help predict psychosis before it happens. This can lead to much needed mental health treatment for individuals with schizophrenia. Stopping the psychosis before it happens can help prevent negative outcomes and issues for those with schizophrenia. Researchers are hopeful that the technology can be used for other mental conditions and that it will become part of the future of mental health treatment.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.