Controversial Brain Imaging Uses AI to Take Aim at Suicide Prevention

www.wired.com

In a study published today in Nature Human Behavior, researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh analyzed how suicidal individuals think and feel differently about life and death, by looking at patterns of how their brains light up in an fMRI machine. Then they trained a machine learning algorithm to isolate those signals—a frontal lobe flare at the mention of the word “death,” for example. The computational classifier was able to pick out the suicidal ideators with more than 90 percent accuracy. Furthermore, it was able to distinguish people who had actually attempted self-harm from those who had only thought about it.

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