Relief for Depression: Dealing with Diseases of Civilization via Technology

by Han-Ru Xie

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression has become one of the top three diseases of civilization for people today. In Taiwan, depression is also a problem that cannot be overlooked. The question is, what can we do for those suffering from depression? In addition to establishing comprehensive channels for medical assistance and a system that provides consultation, technology can also be of great help.

AI-assisted diagnosis for better and early treatments

Compal Electronics, a technology company with expertise in IT, combines medical developments in Taiwan and R&D talents in medical equipment to invest in a research team led by Dr. Yi-Hung Liu, Deputy Research and Development Director at National Taipei University of Technology. With these resources, HippoScreen Neurotech Corp. was founded to specialize in treating depression through studying brainwave patterns. The team aims at building a calculation system with computer-aided diagnosis, which has an exceptional accuracy of over 80%.

AI-assisted diagnosis system developed by HippoScreen Neurotech Corp, assisting in early detection of depression.

Latest research on TMS for TRD

Medication and psychotherapy often work well for general depression, but not for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), where mood circuits show more substantial disorders that bring negative emotion. Taking medicine may not be as effective as it usually is. According to Dr. Cheng-Ta Li, Director of the Community & Rehabilitation Psychiatry at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which stimulates neurons with electrical current pulse, can be effective in treating TRD. Also, TMS is a noninvasive procedure that can work pretty well for patients who do not respond well to medication.

TMS proven effective in treating TRD

Team NCKU: stress-reducing bubble tea winning iGEM 2021

Building upon bubble tea, a popular drink from Taiwan, a team from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) produced MenTAUR, a bubble that contains taurine, a stress-reducing amino acid. The goal is to provide a new treatment for chronic persistent depressive disorder. This creative work stood out from projects by over 300 teams from around the world and won the Gold Prize at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition. This project, featuring technology development and innovation, paves the ways for discovering more possibilities in treating depression.


Diseases caused by civilization may still have to be solved through using technology, the greatest strength of mankind. It is hoped that in the future, technology for treating depression will be more advanced to help people overcome their inner demons.



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