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If you've tried antidepressants to treat your depression, you probably already know this, but finding the right one can be a trial.

There are many different antidepressants out there today, and each works differently. Photo from Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


About 1 in 5 Americans will experience major depression during their lifetime. Antidepressant medication, either alone or in combination with things like cognitive behavior therapy or exercise, can be a powerful tool to help people live with depression — if it works.

Unfortunately, the go-to antidepressants don't work for more than half of the people who try them.

And about a third of all patients never find their perfect fit. This lack of response to the medication isn't anyone's fault — our bodies just work differently. But if you're looking to get help and worry about finding the right medication, a pretty amazing new tool could help.

If you've gone through this, you know the trial and error process can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. It can mean weeks or months of wondering what each new thought means: whether those couple of sleepless nights are a new side effect or just run-of-the-mill insomnia; whether the medication is having any effect at all.

Is this a side effect or just restlessness? At 3 a.m., the line can be hard to see. Image from iStock.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could skip some of that trial and error?

That's what a group of researchers in England is working on. Their research was just published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Their idea is a premedication blood test that would help find the right medication faster.

Image from iStock.

Over the past few years, scientists have been figuring out more and more about how depression affects our bodies. This new blood test measures the level of two biomarkers — or chemical signals — that have previously been linked to poor medication responses.

What they found is that different people had different levels of these biomarkers. If you were above a certain threshold, you had a 99% chance that the go-to meds wouldn't work for you. With this test, these people could save the time they would have spent in the past trying meds that would never work for them to begin with.

This new test could help more than half of the people who suffer from depression jump weeks — or even months — ahead in their treatment.


Image from iStock.

It's not a crystal ball — patients and psychiatrists would still need to work together to figure out the specifics — but instead a frustrating period of trial and error, some patients could skip straight to different medications, combinations, or non-medication-based treatments altogether.

This might sound like a simple thing, but if you've gone through those weeks of trial and error yourself, you know how much a relief this would be.

Brian Dow of the nonprofit Rethink Mental Illness was reported by The Independent as saying, "We hope this new research creates a much needed shortcut to a future where it's no longer luck of the draw when it comes to vital medication."

The next step is to take this from proof-of-concept to clinical trial.

Now that the science seems to back up the idea, the next step for scientists is to actually try it out in a clinical setting and see if it truly does work better than current methods.

In the future, treating depression could become easier and faster, helping people avoid the hassle of trial and error and letting them focus on the most important thing: getting healthy.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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