What It Is
Wired reports that one of Insel’s main focuses at NIMH was seeking the biological origins and genes that might drive mental illness. He’s also a notable critic of the DSM, the bible for diagnosing mental illness, because he believes that mental illness needs to be treated more like regular illness, with “objective laboratory measures,” instead of the symptom-based diagnosis that is the current standard. A Google spokesperson told Wired, “Tom is coming on board to explore how the life sciences team at Google could have an impact on the huge challenges related to understanding, diagnosing, and treating mental illness.”
It certainly appears like Alphabet is preparing for a huge life sciences push, and its not surprising that an iconoclast like Insel might be attracted to disrupting the healthcare world through an outsider like Google rather than on the inside of a big government organization. Google’s certainly got the data needed to look for biological indicators of mental illness.