Science and Tech


Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition.
Posted at 1:35 PM, Sep 26, 2014

There is currently no definitive predictor for the development of psychosis, but now scientists say that might change with a simple blood test.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina analyzed blood samples from patients with symptoms that are believed to suggest a risk for psychosis. In the study, they found those with the markers in their blood later developed psychosis within two years.

According to the researchers, psychosis is an umbrella term that includes the most commonly associated condition, schizophrenia, and describes the loss of contact with reality an affected person experiences.

Currently, doctors use MRI scans, interviews with the patient and other screenings to first rule out any other diseases or disorders before reaching a diagnosis. (Video via Wesleyan University)

Health experts say early detection and intervention might be key to providing long-term treatment for chronic psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates schizophrenia affects about 1 percent of the population.

Measures for early detection are exactly what the researchers had in mind. In a press release, they note although more research is needed, the findings pave the way for future preventative interventions.

A separate but similar test four years ago also tested for the same biomarkers in the blood to detect risk of schizophrenia. The test was made commercially available but was suspended for further testing.

The recent study was published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.