New blood test developed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers help diagnosis people who are experiencing the earliest stages of psychosis.
Psychosis includes hallucinations or delusions that define the development of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Schizophrenia emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood and affects about 1 in every 100 people. In severe cases, the impact on a young person can be a life compromised, and the burden on family members can be almost as severe.
The study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin
reports preliminary results showing that a blood test, when used in psychiatric patients experiencing symptoms that are considered to be indicators of a high risk for psychosis, identifies those who later went on to develop psychosis.
"The blood test included a selection of 15 measures of immune and hormonal system imbalances as well as evidence of oxidative stress," said Diana O. Perkins, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine and corresponding author of the study. She is also medical director of UNC's Outreach and Support Intervention Services (OASIS) program for schizophrenia.