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Social Media and Depression

August 31st, 2016

Episode 111 of 158 episodes

Could the photos you post on the social media app Instagram reveal early warning signs that you may be at risk of depression? Post-graduate researcher Andrew Reece from Harvard University thinks they might. He persuaded 166 people with a history of depression to give him access to the 43,000 photos on their Instagram feeds. Then he developed a computer programme to analyse the pictures and found they did differ from the photos other people posted. Whilst he doesn’t think it could ever replace a doctor’s medical diagnosis, Reece believes with more work, this could provide users and medical staff with a useful tool to help predict who might be at risk of developing depression. Claudia Hammond finds out more. And, could a new target to reduce premature deaths in low income countries side-line older people? No one could argue with wanting to prevent people from dying early, but writing in the British Medical Journal, leading public experts question whether this could lead to institutional ageism, discriminating against older people. One of those concerned is Martin Mckee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who has co-authored a paper in the British Medical Journal. There’s a report from Chile on the concerns about childhood obesity and whether plans to introduce new food and drink labelling system will help. Health Check’s Jane Chambers who recently moved back to Chile with her family, reports. Claudia’s guest today is Family Doctor Graham Easton, who has just published a book about what doctor’s really think of their patients. Photo: Getty Images

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