Collaborating Authors


Google's New Feature Offers Mental Health Support During COVID-19 Pandemic

International Business Times

As the nation fights the coronavirus pandemic, Google is offering a clinically certified questionnaire for those who are searching for information pertaining to anxiety. The new feature launched by the internet giant can be a novel tool to help address mental health concerns inflicted by the pandemic. Beginning May 28, users in the U.S. now have access to clinically approved information about symptoms and treatment options alongside a clinically certified self-assessment, reported Becker's Hospital Review. Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, Google now displays the questionnaire with 7 questions. Though the tool won't be collecting or sharing the users' results or answers, it will let people know how their self-reported anxiety levels compare to other respondents.

12 resources for healthcare workers struggling with their mental health


The news spread quickly when Dr. Lorna Breene, medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, died by suicide last month. Dr. Breene had been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic and had contracted COVID-19. She'd recovered enough to return to work before being sent home by the hospital to recuperate. She took her own life while staying with family in Virginia. Dr. Breene's father said she'd described an "onslaught of patients who were dying before they could even be taken out of ambulances," according to the New York Times.

Large expert-curated database for benchmarking document similarity detection in biomedical literature search


Document recommendation systems for locating relevant literature have mostly relied on methods developed a decade ago. This is largely due to the lack of a large offline gold-standard benchmark of relevant documents that cover a variety of research fields such that newly developed literature search techniques can be compared, improved and translated into practice. To overcome this bottleneck, we have established the RElevant LIterature SearcH consortium consisting of more than 1500 scientists from 84 countries, who have collectively annotated the relevance of over 180 000 PubMed-listed articles with regard to their respective seed (input) article/s. The majority of annotations were contributed by highly experienced, original authors of the seed articles. The collected data cover 76% of all unique PubMed Medical Subject Headings descriptors. No systematic biases were observed across different experience levels, research fields or time spent on annotations.

Characterizing Transgender Health Issues in Twitter Machine Learning

Although there are millions of transgender people in the world, a lack of information exists about their health issues. This issue has consequences for the medical field, which only has a nascent understanding of how to identify and meet this population's health-related needs. Social media sites like Twitter provide new opportunities for transgender people to overcome these barriers by sharing their personal health experiences. Our research employs a computational framework to collect tweets from self-identified transgender users, detect those that are health-related, and identify their information needs. This framework is significant because it provides a macro-scale perspective on an issue that lacks investigation at national or demographic levels. Our findings identified 54 distinct health-related topics that we grouped into 7 broader categories. Further, we found both linguistic and topical differences in the health-related information shared by transgender men (TM) as com-pared to transgender women (TW). These findings can help inform medical and policy-based strategies for health interventions within transgender communities. Also, our proposed approach can inform the development of computational strategies to identify the health-related information needs of other marginalized populations.

Characterizing Diseases and disorders in Gay Users' tweets Machine Learning

A lack of information exists about the health issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people who are often excluded from national demographic assessments, health studies, and clinical trials. As a result, medical experts and researchers lack a holistic understanding of the health disparities facing these populations. Fortunately, publicly available social media data such as Twitter data can be utilized to support the decisions of public health policy makers and managers with respect to LGBTQ people. This research employs a computational approach to collect tweets from gay users on health-related topics and model these topics. To determine the nature of health-related information shared by men who have sex with men on Twitter, we collected thousands of tweets from 177 active users. We sampled these tweets using a framework that can be applied to other LGBTQ sub-populations in future research. We found 11 diseases in 7 categories based on ICD 10 that are in line with the published studies and official reports.

Using Matched Samples to Estimate the Effects of Exercise on Mental Health via Twitter

AAAI Conferences

Recent work has demonstrated the value of social media monitoring for health surveillance (e.g., tracking influenza or depression rates). It is an open question whether such data can be used to make causal inferences (e.g., determining which activities lead to increased depression rates). Even in traditional, restricted domains, estimating causal effects from observational data is highly susceptible to confounding bias. In this work, we estimate the effect of exercise on mental health from Twitter, relying on statistical matching methods to reduce confounding bias. We train a text classifier to estimate the volume of a user's tweets expressing anxiety, depression, or anger, then compare two groups: those who exercise regularly (identified by their use of physical activity trackers like Nike+), and a matched control group. We find that those who exercise regularly have significantly fewer tweets expressing depression or anxiety; there is no significant difference in rates of tweets expressing anger. We additionally perform a sensitivity analysis to investigate how the many experimental design choices in such a study impact the final conclusions, including the quality of the classifier and the construction of the control group.

Discovering Health Beliefs in Twitter

AAAI Conferences

Social networking websites such as Twitter have invigorated a wide range of studies in recent years ranging from consumer opinions on products to tracking the spread of diseases. While sentiment analysis and opinion mining from tweets have been studied extensively, surveillance of beliefs, especially those related to public health, have received considerably less attention. In our previous work, we proposed a model for surveillance of health beliefs on Twitter relying on the use of hand-picked probe statements expressing various health-related propositions. In this work we extend our model to automatically discover various probes related to public health beliefs. We present a data driven approach based on two distinct datasets and study the prevalence of public belief, disbelief or doubt for newly discovered probe statements.