An animated depiction of major depression epidemiology

Patten, Scott B.
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007, Vol. 7, p23
Academic Journal
Background: Epidemiologic estimates are now available for a variety of parameters related to major depression epidemiology (incidence, prevalence, etc.). These estimates are potentially useful for policy and planning purposes, but it is first necessary that they be synthesized into a coherent picture of the epidemiology of the condition. Several attempts to do so have been made using mathematical modeling procedures. However, this information is not easy to communicate to users of epidemiological data (clinicians, administrators, policy makers). Methods: In this study, up-to-date data on major depression epidemiology were integrated using a discrete event simulation model. The mathematical model was animated in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) to create a visual, rather than mathematical, depiction of the epidemiology. Results: Consistent with existing literature, the model highlights potential advantages of population health strategies that emphasize access to effective long-term treatment. The paper contains a web-link to the animation. Conclusion: Visual animation of epidemiological results may be an effective knowledge translation tool. In clinical practice, such animations could potentially assist with patient education and enhanced long-term compliance.


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