A simple blood test could now diagnose and help treat patients suffering from bipolar disorder, according to new research from Indiana University’s School of Medicine.
The study is published in the Feb. 26 online edition of the Molecular Psychiatry journal.
Research has shown that certain biomarkers are found in differing amounts in the blood of individuals who suffer from varying degrees of mood disorders, according to a news release. Doctors could use these biomarkers to determine treatment for those suffering with bipoloar disorder, the study found.
"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," said Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu III, lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry, medical neurobiology and neuroscience at the IU School of Medicine Institute of Psychiatric Research, in a news release.
"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," Niculescu said. "Blood now can be used as a surrogate tissue to diagnose and assess the severity of the illness."