The current state of mental health in the U.S. is dire, with many experiencing inadequate care, leading to imprisonment, homelessness, and premature death. Immediate rehabilitation is necessary for preventing such fate. Through brain imaging techniques, medical progress may permit the diagnosis of psychological conditions before the onset of symptoms.
A Failing System
About half a million people in America are homeless, with one in five having a severe psychological condition, as found by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Proper medications are often inaccessible to those without adequate support. Thus, untreated delusions and hallucinations may cause patients to commit heinous crimes.
The prison system ineffectively substitutes as a psychiatric ward. According to the peer-reviewed scientific journal Lancet Psychiatry, one in seven inmates have depression or psychosis. Many are condemned to solitary confinement and subject to unsanitary conditions, which exceedingly worsens their symptoms.
Incarceration has not proven, by any means, to cure delusions or hallucinations, as evidenced by the high rates of recidivism.
Researchers from the University of Western Ontario developed an algorithm for predicting the onset of psychosis. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists analyzed the gyrification, or brain folds, of 161 participants.
Gyri pack the brain in folds, allowing more surface area to fit inside the skull. Abnormally segregated gyri have been found in psychotic individuals and those genetically predisposed to the disorder.
With 80% accuracy, the algorithm from the Western Ontario scientists can calculate one’s acquisition of the illness. The researchers explained that their findings have substantial implications, as early intervention may be the key to aiding patients in becoming productive members of society and reaching their goals.
As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis is characterized by “delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear).” Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder typically induce these symptoms.
Immediate detection of cognitive illness is vital to the patient’s recovery. Unfortunately, current treatment options are failing in the U.S., with many citizens spending the remainder of their lives homeless or jailed following the onset of symptoms, according to Liberty Nation.
As one of the most scientifically progressed nations in the world, the U.S. must take better strides to care for both the physically and mentally disabled.
Benefits of Early Intervention
The National Institutes of Health reports that those with schizophrenia are 12 times more likely to die from suicide, drug overdose, and other unnatural causes compared to the general population. Early intervention will predictively permit individuals to receive necessary treatment and prevent homelessness, imprisonment, and premature death.
In concordance with the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal.” All citizens, including the mentally disabled, deserve opportunities to reach their goals. The technology created by researchers from Western Ontario will hopefully enable those in need to receive adequate care and pursue their dreams.