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Facebook posts better at predicting diabetes, mental health than demographic info -- ScienceDaily

Using an automated data collection technique, the researchers analyzed the entire Facebook post history of nearly 1,000 patients who agreed to have their electronic medical record data linked to their profiles. The researchers then built three models to analyze their predictive power for the patients: one model only analyzing the Facebook post language, another that used demographics such as age and sex, and the last that combined the two datasets. Looking into 21 different conditions, researchers found that all 21were predictable from Facebook alone. In fact, 10 of the conditions were better predicted through the use Facebook data instead of demographic information.

Facebook’s cardiologist on social media's role in health research

But at a high level, he said, “I can tell you what we do — which is really focus on public health evidence-base-driven interventions and analyses.” Facebook has a relatively flat organizational structure, he said, and there are a number of different people across the company working on different aspects of health. Abnousi, for example, isn’t closely involved in the work to crack down on vaccine misinformation, he said.

Study suggests overdiagnosis of schizophrenia: Reported symptoms of anxiety and hearing voices most common reasons for misdiagnosis by non-specialty physicians -- ScienceDaily

In speculating about other reasons why there might be so many misdiagnoses, the researchers say that it could be due to overly simplified application of criteria listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a standard guide to the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. "Electronic medical record systems, which often use pull-down diagnostic menus, increase the likelihood of this type of error," says Margolis, who refers to the problem as "checklist psychiatry." "The big take-home message from our study is that careful consultative services by experts are important and likely underutilized in psychiatry," says Margolis. "Just as a primary care clinician would refer a patient with possible cancer to an oncologist or a patient with possible heart disease to a cardiologist, it's important for general mental health practitioners to get a second opinion from a psychiatry specialty clinic like ours for patients with confusing, complicated or severe conditions. This may minimize the possibility that a symptom will be missed or overinterpreted."

Investors have been snubbing the microbiome. That may be changing

The field needed to find some basic tools before it had a chance of developing a drug successfully, she said, like better biomarkers to determine how and where a drug was working. For example, in one paper, Synlogic scientists showed that their drug was working by tracking an isotope markers through the bacteria’s metabolic pathway and by measuring levels of a chemical produced by their bacterial “drug,” SYNB1618. “One of the challenges that microbiome companies face is that you can tell what goes in the top end, you can tell what comes out the bottom end, but you can’t tell what happens in the middle,” Brennan said during a presentation earlier this month. “There’s a lot of groundwork that’s required. Papers don’t make good drugs,” she said in an interview afterward.