New blood test predicts schizophrenia risk and best treatments

New blood test predicts schizophrenia risk and best treatments

Psychological health


Scientists say they have developed a new blood test for schizophrenia, a chronic brain disorder that often causes delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech.

The test, which appeared Thursday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, is said to assess a person’s risk of developing schizophrenia and determine the most effective treatment for that individual by analyzing biomarkers in their blood.

“Schizophrenia is difficult to diagnose, especially early, and matching people to appropriate treatment from the beginning is extremely important,” Dr. Alexandre Niculescu, senior author of the Indiana University School of Medicine study, said in a statement.

“Psychosis usually appears in young adulthood, which is the peak period of life,” Niculescu continued. “Stress and drugs, including marijuana, are triggering factors against a background of genetic vulnerability. If psychosis is left untreated, it leads to an accumulation of biological damage, social damage, and psychological damage.

Statistics show that as many as 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which often appears between the late teens and early 30s.

Scientists say they have developed a new blood test for schizophrenia, a chronic brain disorder that often causes delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech. Angellodeco – Stock.adobe.com

Researchers tested the blood of psychiatric patients they followed for more than a decade and identified biomarkers predictive of hallucinations, severe delusions, and psychiatric hospitalizations associated with these symptoms.

They then studied biomarkers that would be best treated with certain drugs.

Statistics show that as many as 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which often appears between the late teens and early 30s. Angellodeco – Stock.adobe.com

“Fortunately, some biologic drugs work well if started early in the right patients,” Niculescu explained.

“Social support is also crucial, and once that and medication are in place, psychological support and therapy can also help,” he continued. “There is still much to understand and apply about cognition and its abnormalities, but there is reason for optimism in this era of emerging precision psychiatry.”

The test is expected to be commercially available later this year.

Previous research has shown that fingerprint images may also serve as potential predictors of schizophrenia.

A 2022 study used a machine learning-based process known as a convolutional neural network to find abnormalities in the fingerprints of people known to have schizophrenia.




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