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Coming soon: Self-guided, computer-based depression treatment
Date:9/24/2008

spaceflights due to its isolation from the rest of the world, length of stay and team composition. Cartreine said feedback from that early test run has been positive, and a clinical evaluation of the latest version on 68 Boston-area volunteers is about to begin.

"We plan to study the program's ability to treat depression," he said. "We are looking for people who are similar to astronauts, such as people in the technology industry."

Eventually, the researchers want to adapt the system for use in many different settings, giving people access to treatment they may not have now. For instance, people with depression often seek treatment by going to their primary care physician, so the researchers hope to adapt it for use at the doctor's office or in a person's home.

The system could also be beneficial in rural areas where clinical help is in short supply or nonexistent. Other possible locations for use include schools, social service offices, places of worship, military bases, prisons, commercial ships, oil rigs and underwater research stations.

The self-guided treatment project is part of the NSBRI Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team portfolio, which includes studies on and development of countermeasures for stress, anxiety, interpersonal conflict and fatigue.

Content on stress and anxiety management for the Virtual Space Station is being developed by Dr. Raphael Rose at UCLA. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Dr. Gary Strangman is studying the depression treatment program's effects on brain activity using infrared imaging.


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Contact: Brad Thomas
rbthomas@bcm.edu
713-798-7595
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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