‎Facebook: users’ posts can help predict diabetes and mental disorders‎

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The ‎‎language‎‎ used on ‎‎Facebook posts‎‎ can help to identify cases of people with various diseases, such as ‎‎diabetes‎‎, ‎‎anxiety‎‎, ‎‎depression‎‎ and ‎‎psychosis; according to ‎‎new U.S. scientific research‎‎.‎

‎The ‎‎way in which the posts are written‎‎ by users, could be ‎‎an indicator of disease‎‎ and, with the ‎‎consent of the patient, be tracked just like the physical symptoms‎‎.‎

‎The researchers analyzed over a period ‎‎all the posts of about 1,000 individuals‎‎ (who granted consent to correlate these data with their medical history) and created ‎‎three disease forecasting models.‎

  1. ‎One received exclusive information from Facebook,
  2. ‎the second only demographics (age, gender, etc.) ‎
  3. ‎and the third combined both.‎

‎The results of the study published in the journal ‎‎”PLOS ONE”‎‎, indicate that all 21 cases of diseases that examined by the research, can be predicted from Facebook‎‎, even for ‎‎10 of them, Facebook was better predictor than demographics.‎

‎Indicatively, it seemed that the ‎‎words ‎‎’bottle’‎ and ‎‘drink’‎in the posts were associated with over-consumption of alcohol,‎‎ while other ‎‎words that reveal hostility, refer to drug abuse or psychosis‎‎. More unexpectedly, the ‎‎reference to the words ‎‎”God”‎‎ or ‎‎”prayer”‎‎ is 15 times more likely to ‎‎’show’‎‎ people with diabetes‎‎.‎

‎”People’s choices of life, experiences, and feelings are often seen in social media. Such information can help provide additional information about the factors that aggravate or improve various diseases», ‎

‎said the ‎‎Chief Researcher, Associate Professor Raina Mertsant, Director of the Medical Center for Digital Health at the University of Pennsylvania‎‎.‎

‎”There are many researches. so far, that show the relationship between the use of specific language terms and illnesses‎‎,‎‎ ‎‎such as the ‎‎language predicts the depression‎‎. However, what is important is to ‎‎find relations between these medical cases‎‎, something that can be a ‎‎starting point for new developments in the field of artificial intelligence“,‎

‎said ‎‎Andrew Swartz, Assistant Professor of computer science at the universities of Pennsylvania and Stoni Brooke‎‎.‎

‎A study last year by the same researchers (on which the new research is based) had shown that, ‎‎via posts on social media, depression can be diagnosed even three months earlier‎‎ than a clinical diagnosis.‎

‎Such data leave, according to ‎‎Dr. Mertsant, room for creating a social media system that will give information about the health of the people‎‎ to specialists, in order to ensure optimal care.‎

‎It remains to be ‎‎seen if the implementation of this plan is feasible and whether the people will agree to share such information.‎

Source: CNN-Greece
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