Scientists have developed a computer test which they say has proved 100% precise in early tests. The computer programme is modelled on the human brain, and has been devised to learn from experience like humans.
The system, was developed at the University of British Columbia, by Peter Liddle, a psychiatrist specialising in brain imaging. The artificial brain reviews the brain scan of patients looking for certain characteristics in the brain blood flow, which could indicate schizophrenia.
Dr Liddle said that recent evidence shows that certain parts of the brain are disrupted in schizophrenia. He said the differences between the brains of healthy and schizophrenic people could allow early detection. His team scanned four healthy patients and nine people diagnosed as having schizophrenia and was able to differentiate between them with 100% accuracy.
"This research is clearly in its early stages and it is therefore important not to raise false hopes, but if it does prove successful, it could be a major help. "However, much of the current delay is due to poor practice, not the lack of tool for diagnosis," he said.