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Re: Ear can be used to diagnose certain mental illnesses

Denis Donovan wrote:
I would suggest that the "demonstration" Kevin Austen refers to below be taken with a hefty dose of lithium chloride and an even heftier dose of curiosity and skepticism.

Although I am both only a PhD student and from Monash (where this research was developed) it might be worthwhile reviewing more than just a journalist's interpretation of these kinds of results. Two sensible starting points would be the fact sheet for the biotech startup that is co-developing this technique with Brian Lithgow (the Monash researcher):


and Brian Lithgow's pages:


As far as I understand it, based on the samples they have tested so far, the technique is able to reliably distinguish Parkinson's disease, Schizophrenia, Bi and Uni polar depression (from each other as well) and Meniere’s disease from healthy normals (with more work ongoing).

Granted you cannot make a full determination without access to their original data. However much like a duration MMN is able to reliably distinguish healthy normals from schizophrenia patients and that frequency MMN is correlated with schizophrenia illness duration:


The technique described above might be one *possible* way of reliably (assuming the technique stands up to further testing) diagnosing some of the conditions listed above.



Bryan Paton

PhD candidate
School of Philosophy & Bioethics/Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Centre

Building 11, w931
Monash University
Clayton, VIC, 3800

+613 990 59166