News… HCC Lab researcher Dr Roland Goecke wins ARC Discovery Project grant

06/09/2012 #arc_dp_2013 HCC Lab researcher Dr Roland Goecke has been awarded a Discovery Project grant by the Australian Research Council to continue his research on developing a multimodal diagnostic aid to assist doctors in the diagnosis of depression. The ARC awarded $360,000 for the years 2013-2015 to a team of researchers from UC (Dr Goecke), UNSW (Prof Gordon Parker, Prof Helen Christensen, Dr Julien Epps) and the University of Pittbsburgh (Prof Jeff Cohn, Dr Pat Lucey) under the lead of Dr Goecke.

Dr Goecke and his colleagues are developing reliable and effective sensing technology and evaluating as an objective measure of depressive disorders, a leading cause of disability worldwide. Half of all Australians will experience mental illness during their life, but despite the high prevalence, current clinical practice depends almost exclusively on self-report and clinical opinion, risking a range of subjective biases. The technology analyses a subject’s mental health using a combination of facial movements, expressions and the patient’s voice. An early version of this diagnostic aid is already able to diagnose depression with up to 80 percent accuracy, as shown in a recently completed pilot study.

“The results demonstrate the capacity of affective computing technology to help with and improve the diagnosis of depressive disorders and the monitoring of progress during therapy. As health care costs increase in Australia, the provision of effective health monitoring systems and diagnostic aides is highly important. Affective computing technology can and will play a major role in this,” Dr Goecke added. The funding will enable the researchers achieve their next step: to develop a laptop-based prototype as well as to identify a new generation of objective ‘markers’ of mental illness in subjects’ expressions. "Our ultimate goal is to assist patients with depression to monitor the progress of their illness in a similar way that a patient with diabetes monitors their blood sugar levels with a small portable device."

UC Media Release: UC receives more than $767,000 to research depression, poetry and the fourth age [LINK]

Story in UC Monitor Online: UC funded to study poets, depression and ageing [LINK]