Scientists have come up with a blood test that can detect bipolar disorder and depression. At present, currently available diagnosis and treatment methods are largely based on trial and error. Newly developed blood test aims at a precision medicine method to treatment. The study has been done by experts from Indiana University. It sheds light on the genetic basis of mood disorders. The study has been led by Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu, who is a Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine. This study is based on Dr. Niculescu’s previous work on blood biomarkers that keep a track of suicidality, pain, post-traumatic disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease as well. Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu has said that his team has led the way for precision medicine in psychiatry over the last 20 years.
He has said that with the new findings, experts have brought psychiatry from the 19th century into the 21st century. As per the experts, with their constant efforts, the field of psychiatry has become like other modern fields such as oncology. The aim of the new blood test is simply to improve the quality of life of many patients, said the experts. The findings of the study have been released in the prestigious journal called Molecular Psychiatry. Experts have said that the blood test is composed of RNA biomarkers that can easily detect how fatal a person’s depression is. It as well can identify the risk of being diagnosed with severe depression in the future. The blood test will be able to diagnose the risk of developing the bipolar or manic-depressive disorder in the future.
Health experts have said that the test notifies about the modified medication options for patients. The study has continued for over four years. Nearly 300 patients have been enrolled in the study from the patient population at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The team of experts has followed a four-step method of discovery, prioritization, validation, and testing. First, experts have followed participants over time and analyzed them in both high and low mood states. The team of experts has used a huge database obtained from other studies in the field of psychiatry to cross-validate and prioritize their outcomes. After that, experts have validated the top 26 candidate biomarkers in autonomous cohorts of people with severe depression or bipolar disorder.
In the end, they have tested these biomarkers in further autonomous cohorts to find out how effective they have been at identifying who is having these disorders and who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with these diseases in the future. With this method, scientists have been able to show how to match patients with medications. They as well have been able to discover a new possible medication to cure depression. The lead author of the study, Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu has said with the new study, his team has developed a blood test that can differentiate between depression and bipolar disorder. It is able to match patients with their suitable treatment as well. He has said that biomarkers are essential tools to diagnose such disorders when self-report by the patients and clinical notions of health care professionals are not very reliable.
In the new study, experts have found that mood disorders are highlighted by circadian clock genes. These genes control seasonal, day-night, and sleep-wake cycles. This might be the reason why some patients go through a hard time with seasonal changes and the sleep alterations that can take place in mood disorders. The lead author of the study has said that the findings should be converted into clinical practice and these findings can help develop new drug therapy for such patients. Experts who have been involved in the study have said that the new work is essential in enhancing the quality of life for many patients, who are dealing with depression or bipolar disease.
Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu has said that blood biomarkers provide real-time clinical practice benefits. He has said that as the brain cannot be examined in real-time, his team has worked for years to find out blood biomarkers for neurological diseases. As per the report, at least one in four people is identified with a clinical mood disorder. The study has been backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).