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Why America's Top Mental Health Researcher is Joining Silicon Valley

October 06, 2015
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Thomas Insel, the National Institute of Mental Health Director, has recently announced his transition to join the Alphabet family. Alphabet is the new umbrella company for Google and all the formerly Google-owned companies. One particular company Alphabet has launched is Google Life Sciences. This company works with technology to innovate and create medical advances. Insel had previously worked as the NIHM Director for 13 years but sees potential in the advancement of Google's technology and the large strides the company can make for mental illness research. While there are currently phone apps working on researching diabetes and heart disease, there is large potential for this kind of technology to advance mental health. Insel released the following statement:
"The [Google Life Sciences] mission is about creating technology that can help with earlier detection, better prevention, and more effective management of serious health conditions. I am joining the team to explore how this mission can be applied to mental illness. That the life sciences team at Google would establish a major exploration into mental health is by itself a significant statement — recognizing the burden of illness from psychosis, mood disorders, and autism as well as the opportunity for technology to make a major impact to change the world for the millions affected."
Currently, one in five people are diagnosed with a mental illness. However, there is still no proper detection, prescription or cure. The Life Sciences unit will have Insel in charge of creating mental illness projects and leading a team to make the correct technology to advance mental health research. For more information on Insel and his move to Alphabet, check out this article on the MIT Technology Review!
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