Facebook profiles could indicate alcohol dependency
Status updates, tweets and posts on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace could indicate if people are suffering from alcoholism.
Researchers in the US have found there is a link between drinking-related updates and picture posts and alcohol dependency in students.
It is now hoped popular social media sites like Facebook will be used to identify and help those at risk from a drinking problem and also help to tackle the issue of underage drinking.
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The results of the research – which was carried out by a team from the University of Wisconsin and University of Washington – have been published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
According to the report’s authors, approximately 1,700 college students in America die every year as a result of alcohol and they say binge drinking is a big problem in colleges and universities in the US.
As part of the study, the researchers looked at 224 Facebook profiles of college students which were open to public viewing.
While two-thirds of students made no reference to alcohol or drinking, the remaining profiles had evidence of both non-problematic and more dangerous alcohol consumption.
The students were then asked to take part in a screening test consisting of 10 questions, which found 60 percent of those whose profiles had evidence of drinking were at risk of developing alcohol dependency.
Dr. Megan Moreno, the lead author of the study, said: “Our job is to distinguish between drinking in a relatively safe environment, when it's not really a problem, from drinking behaviours that could lead to negative outcomes.”
“College is a frequent time that students will drink and we often see references to alcohol on Facebook and we wanted to find if there is a way to separate what might be 'rite of passage' drinking from drinking that shows actual clinical risk.”
She added: “We found that students whose Facebook status reports and photos contain these key references to intoxication and problem drinking are four times as likely as those whose profiles do not to actually have a drinking problem.
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Jvion launches AI-powered map to tackle mental health crisis
Clinical AI company Jvion has launched an interactive map of the US that highlights areas that are most vulnerable to poor mental health.
The Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map uses Jvion's AI CORE™ software to analyse public data on social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine the vulnerability of every US Census block group.
Vulnerability refers to the likelihood that residents will experience issues like self-harm, suicide attempts or overdoses. The map also identifies the most influential social determinants in each region, to show the social and environmental conditions that contribute to mental illness.
As an example, the map shows that Harrison County in Mississippi has a 50% higher suicide rate than the rest of the state. It also shows a high percentage of individuals in the armed forces at a time when active duty suicides are at a six-year high, along with a high prevalence of coronary artery disease, arthritis, and COPD, all chronic illnesses that are linked to a higher suicide risk.
The map also shows Harrison County has a high percentage of Vietnamese Americans, who studies suggest have high rates of depression and may be less likely to seek help from mental health professionals.
The map was built using the same data and analytics that Jvion used to create the COVID Community Vulnerability Map, which was launched towards the start of the pandemic.
With this new map, Jvion is aiming to tackle the growing mental health crisis in the US. “At a time when so many Americans are struggling with their mental health, we’re proud to offer a tool that can help direct treatment resources to the communities that need it most,” said Dr John Showalter, MD, Jvion’s chief product officer, who led the development of the map.
“For too long, the healthcare industry has struggled to address social determinants of health, particularly in the context of behavioural health. Our hope is that by surfacing the social and environmental vulnerabilities of America’s communities, we can better coordinate our response to the underlying conditions that impact the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.”