Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year

By | January 20, 2010

A blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia — the most serious form of mental illness — could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. The disorder, with symptoms that can include hallucinations and delusional thoughts, affects more than two million people in the United States and millions more worldwide.

C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud mentions the test as one part of a much broader discussion of how scientists are using non-brain cells to study schizophrenia in an attempt to speed the identification of biomarkers of the disease and develop new diagnostic tests. She notes that schizophrenia does not just involve the brain, but also abnormal levels of certain proteins that appear in other parts of the body. The article highlights groundbreaking research by a group of scientists in the United Kingdom indicating that 40 percent of the chemical changes in the brains of schizophrenia patients also occur in other body parts. The U.K. scientists are studying these biomarkers in the skin, immune cells, and blood of patients to provide a real-time picture of the disease. Most previous studies, in contrast, were done with brain tissue taken from patients after death, the article notes.

The scientists have already identified several schizophrenia biomarkers in the blood and are working with a company that plans to launch a blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia in 2010. The test could help confirm diagnoses made on the basis of psychiatric evaluations and allow earlier diagnosis so that patients can be treated earlier.

via Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year.

2 thoughts on “Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year

  1. Patrick

    I’ve read from a few sources that the advent of home gender-tests has led to a major increase in abortions due to the rather global preference toward having a boy. Keep in mind that I am in no way one of those pro-lifers, and if I’m passing along politically-tainted, erroneous reporting I apologize.
    I’m just wondering if this is another sign that we’re going to abort away all babies with major and identifiable mental illnesses.

  2. Xeno Post author

    Hi Patrick,
    I’d say we are headed even further up the chain. I think there will be a time when you have to reveal your DNA on Facebook before you can go on a first date with anyone.

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