Mental Health is a widespread problem that affects us all in some way, but the stigma regarding the issue and treatment still prevents the issue from making significant progress.
Over 350 million people are considered depressed, but only half of that figure actually goes in to get diagnosed. Of those diagnosed, only 70 percent are correctly diagnosed, and of that 70 percent, only 20 percent are optimally treated – that is only 7 percent of the depressed population.
The current issue that surrounds mental health diagnosis is that the screening process is subjective; a doctor will generally ask several questions regarding a patient’s health and well-being. With mental health patient’s behavior and feelings often fluctuating rapidly, this is often not the best method of diagnosis.
A new company aims to revolutionize this process and provide the help to millions in need through a new objective screening technology unlike anything in the market currently.
Medibio was founded based on research conducted in Western Australia, where objective quantitative data is utilized through an algorithm to diagnose exactly what issues a patient is facing.
“Regarding treatment, right now doctors will generally ask a bunch of subjective questions, the DSM-5 is the diagnostic, but there is no objective test to really determine if a patient has a mental illness or not. That is where our technology comes in, to give an objective diagnosis of mental illness,” said MediBio CFO Brian Mower. “Researchers have seen there is no objective measure out there currently, if we can make an objective measurement and pattern, then we are onto something,” he saidMower.
The first challenge when it comes to mental health is a proper diagnosis. Too often have we heard the stories of patients getting the wrong diagnosis and then ultimately the wrong medication – which can have devastating effects.
Medibio has developed a test utilizing biomarkers to help diagnose depression, chronic stress and other disorders, utilizing circadian rhythm, sleep and blood pressure. Studies are currently showing between 86-95 percent accuracy of diagnosis.
Medibio’s technology has shown so much promise that it attracted Olympic legend Michael Phelps to join the board, aligning with his mission to help spread awareness of mental illness and combat the stigma that the issue currently faces. Phelps notably battled with mental health issues of his own.
“For me growing up as a kid with ADHD, I was constantly bouncing off the wall I could never sit still. I had teachers telling me I could never amount to anything and that I would never be successful in life. Its wild to see how little interest there is in mental health. For me, opening up about my story, hopefully we can have other people open up about their story as well because we know they are out there,” said Michael Phelps.
“Athletes are scared ask for help. We try to be as big and macho as we can and try to take on ourselves. It took me a long time to finally realize that it’s ok to ask for help and its ok to not be ok. Once I found that out I was able to save my life and make my life exponentially better, that’s something that I will forever be thankful for,” Phelps said.
Athletes that spend so much time and dedication practicing and preparing for their sport, especially an Olympic athlete that has four years of build up are susceptible to depression after competition is over. With Phelps being one of the most studied athletes in history from an analytical perspective, it was no wonder he took the same approach to his mental health issues, ultimately teaming up with Medibio to address and understand the issues he was having.
“I have been somebody who has been about stats my whole life, i’m all about numbers. I think its really cool to see when I have a mild stress level day, all the different varieties of stress, and be able to go back and say, well why was I having this on this day,” he said.
“I think with this data we are able to pinpoint more of an accurate assessment where we can send them to the right person instead of running to a prescription pad and saying here is this, this is going to make you better,” he said. “We are able to have a better understanding of what the person needs, where we are able to send that person based off test results that are given, I think that is something that nobody has seen and it is endless opportunity to really be able to pinpoint every single need that everybody has,” concluded Phelps.
(Photo credit:Master Spas)