Scientists are trying to model our mental health based on our tweets

Gigaom

During the holiday season, ideally filled with family, food, and festivities, the topic of depression is often sidelined; even more of a taboo subject than usual. But research suggests it is one of our most persistent blights, ranked ninth in the world behind the major killers, such as heart disease, stroke, and HIV, according to Nature.

Now researchers from multiple disciplines, in both the public and private sectors, are working on various algorithms and approaches to measure a range of mental health trends via large volumes of online activity. Issues such as depression and seasonal anxiety disorder aren’t the first health trends to be investigated in this way – think Google Flu Trends, for instance – but they represent an entry point for researchers, one that most recently has been hailed by a team at Johns Hopkins reporting on techniques that could play a key role in measuring…

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