Feeling down in the dumps and don't know what to do? Worry not, for a new simple blood test is coming to your rescue, which might help predict just how bad things are, making it easier and fast to diagnose and treat mood disorder.
Scientists at Indiana University School of Medicine claimed that they have identified biomarkers in the blood associated with mood disorders, which they say might change the way bipolar illness is diagnosed and treated.
AdvertisementThe research team analyzed blood samples from 96 patients and found varying levels of the biomarkers in participants with high or low mood states.
They also found that concentrations of the biomarkers varied, depending on the severity of depression or mania or a patient's individual experiences.
Among the markers identified by the study were five genes involved in the formation of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves, and six involved in controlling growth in the body.
"This discovery is a major step towards bringing psychiatry on par with other medical specialties that have diagnostic tools to measure disease states and the effectiveness of treatments," BBC quoted Dr Alexander Niculescu, the study's lead researcher, as saying.
"Although psychiatrists have been aware that bipolar illness and other psychiatric conditions produced molecular changes in the brain, there was no way to measure those changes while the patient was living.
"Blood now can be used as a surrogate tissue to diagnose and assess the severity of the illness," he added.
Professor David Kendall, an expert in pharmacology at the University of Nottingham, said any correlation between a patient's psychiatric condition and expression of particular genes could potentially give doctors more of an insight into the development of disease.
The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
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