Major breakthrough: Ranchi institutes develop technique for detecting depression

Express News Service

RANCHI: In a major breakthrough in the field of mental health, the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) and Birla Institute of Technology(BIT)-Mesra in Ranchi have developed a technique that can help detect if a person is suffering from depression. 

It has been named Hybrid Depression Detection System, said Dr Nishant Goyal, Assistant Professor at CIP, who was involved in the project along with Dr Shalini Mahto and Dr Sanchita Paul of BIT-Mesra. They team had applied for patent of this innovation, which was granted on August 13.

“We have developed a technique to detect depression through which electrical activity (waves) of the brain is captured and converted into algorithm based on machine learning. If this technology is fitted in a wearable device like a smart cap or a hat, the person wearing it can get a feedback whether he or she has any symptoms of depression or not,” said Dr Goyal. 

On the basis of the findings of the device, a person can seek help from a psychiatrist before his/her condition gets worse, he added. 

According to Dr Goyal, there are different equipment for finding out ailments in human body but there was no instrument for detecting the mental condition of a person.

“We collected data of several patients and analysed them using artificial intelligence,” he added.Though the project started five years back, but it took two years to complete the analysis part, he said. 

“There is a system called Electro Encephalogram (EEG), under which we record the waves of the brain through six channels located on it and apply machine learning techniques related to computer science through which it could be detected whether a person is in depression or not,” said Mahto, who is currently working at Amity University and had submitted her thesis on the subject to BIT-Mesra.

On the basis of this technique, a device could be prepared which would alert a person that he/she is possibly in depression so that he may seek help on time, she added.  

Pioneering tech gets a patent

Though the technique is ready, it can be converted into a device only if any company comes forward and shows interest, said Dr Nish-ant Goyal, assistant professor at Central Institute of Psychia-try, who pioneered the technique jointly with  Dr Shalini Mahto and Dr Sanchita Paul of BIT-Mesra. They received a patent for their innovation on August 13.