Video: New blood test for schizophrenia

February 12, 2014 by Elmar Bartlmae

Currently the diagnosis of most mental illnesses is based on conversations and questionnaires. These could now be supported by a new low-cost blood test developed within the European research project SchizDX.

This test evaluates the presence of certain proteins in of patients. Sabine Bahn from the University of Cambridge says that the is able to diagnose schizophrenia with a certainty of 83% and depression with a certainty of about 90%. Although the test could never stand on its own, it provides doctors with valuable backup information.

Also patients are likely to profit from the new test, because now their illness is no longer an abstract condition that is restricted to something that happens in the mind. The abnormality in the blood will help patients psychologically to deal with their psychiatric disorder as with any other illness.

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not rated yet Feb 12, 2014
This statement is incorrect: "The abnormality in the blood will help patients psychologically to deal with their psychiatric disorder as with any other illness."

For those who have a severe psychiatric condition and feel stigmatised by the lack of empirical diagnosis, having the blood test and falling outside the 83% will substantially worsen their anxiety, not relieve it.

If given without very tight regulation, this test could see a rise in suicide in the 10% who's depression does not return positive on the blood test.

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