AI Shows Promise in Identifying Anxiety Disorders in Youth


  • AI can identify youth anxiety through brain structures, but it needs improvement.
  • ENIGMA Anxiety Consortium, led by Moji Aghajani, is uniting global researchers to study anxiety disorders.
  • Better AI and big data could lead to personalized youth anxiety treatment soon.

In a groundbreaking multicenter study encompassing approximately 3,500 individuals aged 10 to 25 worldwide, artificial intelligence (AI), particularly machine learning algorithms, has demonstrated the ability to discern anxiety disorders based on distinctive brain structures. 

This study, spearheaded by lead researcher Moji Aghajani, an Assistant Professor at Leiden University’s Institute of Education & Child Studies, analyzed cortical thickness, surface area, and volumes of deep-seated brain regions.

Promising results with room for improvement

While the findings are promising, they are not flawless. Further refinement of the algorithms and inclusion of additional types of brain data, such as brain function and connectivity, are essential for enhancing accuracy. Despite this, the study’s outcomes are remarkable, as they remain applicable across a diverse cohort of youngsters spanning various ethnicities, geographical locations, and clinical profiles.

Aghajani emphasizes the potential of this research to pave the way for a more personalized approach to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of anxiety disorders. By moving away from the conventional focus on average patients towards individualized analysis, aided by large and diverse datasets coupled with AI, researchers aim to better understand the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of anxiety disorders.

The role of the ENIGMA anxiety consortium

Moji Aghajani, his postdoc Willem Bruin, and approximately 250 collaborators worldwide represent the ENIGMA Anxiety Consortium. This collaborative effort aims to gain reliable insights into the neurobiological underpinnings of anxiety disorders by pooling and harmonizing data from various sources and conducting large-scale analyses. Such consortia have emerged in response to the replication crisis in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, fostering a collaborative approach to advance the field.

The study’s publication in a prestigious outlet like Nature Mental Health underscores its significance and potential impact on mental health research and clinical practice. Anxiety disorders, which often manifest during adolescence and early adulthood, pose significant challenges globally, leading to profound emotional, social, and economic burdens.

Moji Aghajani highlights the need to transcend the traditional approach to mental health research, which is characterized by small-scale studies and simplistic analyses. By harnessing the power of big data and AI, researchers can delve deeper into individual differences and develop tailored interventions for those affected by anxiety disorders.

Funding from organizations such as ZonMW, NWO, and the Leiden University Fund has supported this complex and labor-intensive study, enabling researchers to push the boundaries of understanding in mental health.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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James Kinoti

A crypto enthusiast, James finds pleasure in sharing knowledge on fintech, cryptocurrency as well as blockchain and frontier technologies. The latest innovations in the crypto industry, crypto gaming, AI, blockchain technology, and other technologies are his preoccupation. His mission: be on track with transformative applications in various industries.

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