Harnessing social media to predict postpartum depression

What if a new mother could direct her smartphone to monitor her tweets and other social media interactions and alert her to signs of postpartum depression? That’s one of the possibilities raised by a study that will be presented by a Microsoft Research team at next week’s ACM CHI 2013 conference in Paris.

In addition to the positive aspects of this scenario, the presenters expect the talk to stimulate discussions on ethics and privacy, though the study involved publicly available data with no personally identifiable information.

The study is the latest example of Microsoft Research’s ongoing focus on health care. In another, the organization recently showed how it can detect previously unknown drug interactions via analysis of anonymized Web-search logs. Fascinating stuff, and lots more is to come. To follow reports from next week’s conference, visit Inside Microsoft Research. For a preview of some of the technologies that will be discussed at the event, check out this very cool video.

Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff