Combining information about people’s life history as well as biological information from brain scans could be a novel way to tailor depression treatment, she says. Giving people more confidence that they will be directed to the right treatment could also encourage more people with depression to get treated; currently a vast majority don’t. She points out that ordering additional tests such as scans is common in almost every other disease that’s not a mental illness—for heart conditions, bone disorders and more. While brain scans might require more upfront costs in depression, directing people to the treatment that’s most likely to work for them from the start may save more in the long run.
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