Plano twin sisters recognized for mental illness work

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A pair of Plano twin sisters are being recognized for their work with mental illness. The 16-year-olds designed an award-winning computer program to help diagnose schizophrenia early on.

You might say Adhya and Shriya Beesam’s love for reading has paid off pretty big for the Plano East High students — big as in $100,000 for college.

The Beesam sisters won first place in the 2016 Siemens Competition, the nation's premier math, science and technology contest for high school students.

Their project was a computer program that diagnoses schizophrenia in patients earlier than typically. It was a personal challenge after their uncle with the disorder took his own life.

"We thought if he'd been diagnosed earlier and with more accuracy, he would've received more effective treatment, and they would've been able to save his life,” Shriya said.

Their research creates a bridge between question-and-answer psychiatric assessments and brain scans.

"When comparing it to the psychiatric assessments today, which have and accuracy rate of a little over 50 percent, our program had an accuracy rate of 98.1 percent.”

And they still have a year of high school to go. Their next competition project will be something to do with cancer research.

The girls have not decided where they will attend college but do plan on focusing on biomedical research.

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