AI shows substantial promise in the management of depression, researchers say. In recent years there has been a surge in research applying AI to illnesses like depression, which can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Scientists have compared ChatGPT diagnoses and medical recommendations to those of real-life doctors with surprisingly positive results, Sarah Hellewell, a research fellow at Curtin University, wrote in the online journal The Conversation.
“When given information on fictional patients of varied depression severity, sex, and socioeconomic status, ChatGPT mostly recommended talk therapy. In contrast, doctors recommended antidepressants,” she said.
US, British, and Australian guidelines recommend talk therapy as the first treatment option ahead of medication.
“This suggests ChatGPT may be more likely to follow clinical guidelines, whereas GPs may have a tendency to oversubscribe antidepressants.
“ChatGPT is also less influenced by sex and socioeconomic biases, while doctors are statistically more likely to prescribe antidepressants to men, especially those in blue-collar jobs.”
Hellewell says that combining functional and structural information from magnetic resonance imaging data (MRI) correctly predicts depression in over 93 per cent of cases.
“This suggests using multiple brain-imaging techniques for AI to detect depression may be the way forward,” she said.
MRI-based AI tools are currently only used for research purposes.