Novel ‘Mind Reading’ Device To Detect Depression In An Hour

by Aruna on Oct 16 2009 9:16 AM

Researchers at Monash University are developing a 'mind reading' device that may diagnose depression in an hour.

Brainchild of the university's Brian Lithgow, a biomechanical engineer, the machine is called an 'ECG for the mind'. It analyzes the brain's electrical signals in the same way an ECG can detect heart problems, its creator says.

The revolutionary device works by plugging an electrode into the subject's ear, then strapping them to a tilt chair that triggers changes in their balance system, reports The Age.

The balance system is closely connected to primitive parts of the brain relating to emotions and behavior.

While working with psychiatrists from Monash University's Alfred Psychiatry Centre (MAPrc), Lithgow is conducting tests to see if he can identify the unique electrical signals attached to mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The head of MAPrc, Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, said the device could prove a major breakthrough in the diagnosis of serious mental illness.

"It is going to lift us, I think, into an era where mental illness can be better understood and better treated," she told ABC radio.