IBM and NIH want to find out if artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to detect people at risk of developing schizophrenia. The  International Business Machines announced that it will work with researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and Stanford University. 

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IBM's new initiative, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), will study if AI can be used to identify better people at risk of developing mental illness. The new project is part of the multimillion-dollar, multiyear Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) program, a collaboration between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NIH, non-profit organizations, and biotech firms. 

The AMP program aims to develop new diagnostics and therapies for patients. On the other hand, NIH's new Schizophrenia initiative (AMP SZ), a five-year, $99 million effort, will address the heterogeneity of those at risk of developing psychosis, a symptom of schizophrenia. 

The institute, together with IBM and collaborators, including the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will coordinate with the FDA to develop biomarker algorithms from new and existing data sets, compiled by AMP SZ's research investigators. 

What are biomarkers?  

Biomarkers can be used to detect a range of health-related outcomes. For example, the algorithms could inform an objective measure of pain and allow remote patient monitoring, enabling medical experts to address patients who require urgent in-person care. 

The AMP SZ initiative wants to predict outcomes and trajectories and generate risk calculators that can be used in future trials for treatment intervention by leveraging these biomarkers. NIH and BIM aim to prevent psychosis onset progression, mood disorders and anxiety, drug abuse and alcohol, suicidal behavior, and more. 

IBM announced that it will contribute to data-driven AU and brain imaging for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. The company also plans to guide and observe the collection of data, including language samples. 

"The ... initiative as a whole will be a unique opportunity for IBM to be a leader in the realization the enormous potential of integrating large volumes of data, artificial intelligence, and basic neuroscientific research to help impact mental health," said Guillermo Cecchi, a principal research staff member at IBM.  

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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.

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