By: April Carson
A novel device that searches for blood biomarkers associated with mood disorder symptoms might lead to innovative methods to diagnose and treat sadness and bipolar disorder, starting with a basic blood test.
Despite the fact that depression has been recognized for centuries and affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, traditional diagnosis is still based on physician, psychologist, and psychiatrist clinical evaluations.
Blood tests, for example, may assist in the evaluation of health conditions by determining whether depression symptoms are linked to other factors. However, they are not utilized in clinical practice to accurately and independently diagnose the condition itself. According to this study, this might be a feasible option in the future.
In a new research, scientists have discovered 26 biomarkers – measurable and naturally occurring indicators – in people's blood that are possibly connected to mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and mania.
"Blood biomarkers are starting to be recognized as important tools in illnesses where a patient or a medical professional's subjective self-report or a clinical impression isn't always accurate," remarks psychologist and neuroscientist Alexander B. Niculescu from Indiana University.
"The ability to perform these blood tests might provide clinicians with the means to find the right drug for each patient, as well as objective monitoring of treatment response.
This is precisely what Lucian has done for many years, developing comparable blood biomarker-based tests to help predict suicidality in patients, diagnose severe pain, and assess PTSD levels.
In a recent study, researchers at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis worked with hundreds of patients over the course of four years to identify and verify gene expression biomarkers in blood that might be linked to mood disorders.
In each session, patients' mood (ranging from low to high) was recorded in real-time, and samples of their blood were taken at the time.
After comparing the samples against a huge database of knowledge compiled from 1,600 research on human genetics, gene expression, and protein expression, the researchers discovered a series of biomarkers associated with mood disorders that were shorter after confirming their findings in a second group of patients.
In a last test, the researchers studied another group of psychiatric patients to see whether the 26 biomarkers could determine mood, sadness, and mania and predict outcomes such as future hospitalizations.
After all of these procedures were carried out, the scientists discovered that 12 of the biomarkers have particularly strong links to depression, with six of them related to bipolar disorder, and two biomarkers that can indicate manic episodes.
Not all changes in expression in peripheral cells are linked to or relevant to brain activity, according on the scientists' study.
"By carefully monitoring a phenotype in the discovery stage with our within-subject design, and then utilizing [convergent functional genomics] prioritization, we are able to extract peripheral changes that track and are relevant to the mood state studied, in this case anxiety.
According to the researchers, their precision medicine method doesn't only identify a patient's inclination to depression and other mood problems, but it can also help bioinformatically highlight certain medicines that would be most effective for their issues.
The study's results indicated that a variety of non-antidepressant medicines - including pindolol, ciprofibrate, pioglitazone, and adiphenine - might work as antidepressants if used in high doses, while the natural chemicals asiaticoside and chlorogenic acid may warrant further study.
The researchers believe that eight of the top biomarker genes associated with mood disturbances are linked to circadian functioning, which may help provide a molecular basis for the connections between illnesses such as depression and sleep problems.
That is why seasonal changes, as well as sleep disturbances that occur in mood disorders, can cause some patients to get worse.
Although a blood test does not yet exist as a scientifically valid proof of concept – meaning there's no telling when such a test will be more widely accessible – the researchers believe their results will persuade the psychiatry community that precise medicine belongs in depression diagnosis and therapy.
Finally, they conclude that conventional doctor-assessed ways of detecting mood disorders are insufficient, lagging behind the kinds of objective testing systems seen in other medical specialties.
"We've hired experts in brain imaging to make sure that our findings are accurate," Niculescu adds. "This is part of our mission to bring psychiatry from the 19th century into the 21st century, so it can be more like other modern disciplines such as oncology."
"Ultimately, the goal is to save and improve lives."
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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