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An estimated 48 million American adults have anxiety. Nearly 18 million have depression. Despite the prevalence of these common conditions, we’ve struggled to find effective biological tests for them.

Today, mental health professionals rely on short patient-completed questionnaires to assess mental health. Here’s an example:


For the last 100 years, we’ve lacked effective biomarkers to help diagnose and treat common conditions like anxiety and depression. Heart rate variability (HRV) is about to change that.

An estimated 48 million American adults have anxiety. Nearly 18 million have depression. Despite the prevalence of these common conditions, we’ve struggled to find effective biological tests for them.

Today, mental health professionals rely on short patient-completed questionnaires to assess mental health. Here’s an example:

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Currently used clinical questionnaire for assessing symptoms of anxiety, the GAD-7. Full assessment here.

Imagine doctors treating your diabetes without measuring your blood glucose levels — deciding how much insulin to inject based on questions like “how sleepy do you get after pasta dinner?” Obviously, this is not ideal.

Mental health has been looking for the equivalent of a blood glucometer for a century. …


It’s a new year 🎉 and the perfect time to lock in some new mental health habits.

As a former neuroscientist and someone who’s struggled with anxiety and depression, I know how important my state of mind is to my work, relationships and happiness.

Here are the top 5 things I’m doing to improve my mental health in 2020:

1. Find your Zen… one step at a time

I used to study meditation’s effect on the brain. You can read more about it here, but TL;DR: meditation changes your brain, improves your focus, and makes you feel better.

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Thicker cortical regions following 8 weeks of meditation in regions of the brain associated with emotional regulation, focus, compassion and empathy. Credit: my former colleague, Sara Lazar, at Harvard.

Regular meditation training can improve your emotional self-regulation skills, thicken parts of your cortex associated with focus, empathy and sense of self, and even re-wire white matter connecting different parts of your brain together. It’s been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and improve focus and cognitive performance. …


How technology can disrupt politics and re-invent government

Today just 19% of Americans say they trust government. Only one in ten Americans approve of Congress — the lowest level in American history.

Is American democracy failing?

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System Failure

Research suggests the public may be right in their skepticism of government. A recent Princeton study of 1,779 policy issues found American public opinion had little eventual impact on government decisions.

“Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”1

The researchers conclude that in the United States “the majority does not rule” and that “when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.” …

About

Rohan Dixit

Former neuroscientist, sometimes artist, founder of mental health technology (https://getlief.com) and new political party (https://thenet.party).

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