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Texting away depression?

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. One in 10 Americans suffer[s] from depression at some point in their lives. Treating depression usually involves careful monitoring by mental health specialists and pharmaceutical intervention. Now, a novel technique developed by a University of California, Berkeley, professor is being used to treat depression in low-income communities. Dr. Adrian Aguilera is using automated text messages to take the place of a traditional method where patients keep a written record of how they're feeling.

Aguilera:       The idea is whether we can really boost something we already know works and make it stronger at relatively low cost.

Narrator:       Aguilera says the additional benefit of texting is that it can be used even after patients complete therapy.

Aguilera:       People can go through a course of therapy, which in our case is typically about 16 weeks, give or take. After that, what happens? We can continue sending people text messages for another six months at relatively low cost, and keep reinforcing these skills.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.