IU Scientists Develop Cutting-Edge Blood Test for Identifying Schizophrenia

A group of scientists under the direction of faculty members at Indiana University School of Medicine have created a ground-breaking new blood test for schizophrenia, a mental illness characterized by delusions and hallucinations.

Over 3 million individuals in the United States are impacted by schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders. 

A groundbreaking test has been developed to analyze biomarkers in an individual’s blood, providing an objective measure of their current severity and future risk for schizophrenia. 

This innovative approach allows for personalized treatment plans tailored to each person’s unique biology, ensuring the most effective outcomes.

Researchers at the IU School of Medicine, led by Professor Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD, have identified predictive biomarkers for high hallucination and delusion states in psychiatric patients. 

The study, conducted over a decade, also linked these biomarkers to future psychiatric hospitalizations related to hallucinations and delusions.

According to Dr. Niculescu, diagnosing schizophrenia, particularly in its early stages, poses a significant challenge. 

“Schizophrenia is hard to diagnose, especially early on, and matching people to the right treatment from the beginning is very important,” emphasized Dr. Niculescu, who is also a staff psychiatrist and investigator at the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis.

The study focused on identifying biomarkers that could predict the severity of hallucinations and delusions, offering valuable insights for tailored treatment approaches. 

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Study Advances Precision in Schizophrenia Diagnosis

iu-scientists-develop-cutting-edge-blood-test-identifying-schizophrenia
A group of scientists under the direction of faculty members at Indiana University School of Medicine have created a ground-breaking new blood test for schizophrenia, a mental illness characterized by delusions and hallucinations.

By examining patients over an extended period, the researchers sought to enhance the precision of psychiatric assessments.

“Our findings indicate that the identified biomarkers surpass the predictive accuracy of standard scales used in evaluating individuals with hallucinations or delusions,” Dr. Niculescu explained.

The research not only contributes to a better understanding of schizophrenia but also offers a potential solution to reduce subjectivity and uncertainty in psychiatric assessments.

The study builds upon over two decades of research by Dr. Niculescu and his team, who have previously investigated blood biomarkers for various psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidality risk, pain, and memory disorders.

“Fortunately, physiologically, some of the existing medications work quite well if initiated early in the right patients,” said Dr. Niculescu, establishing the value of early intervention and matching patients to the appropriate prescriptions. 

He emphasized the value of social support in addition to medicine and the possible advantages of therapy and psychological assistance when a thorough treatment plan is in place.

The research team anticipates that the developed blood test will be available later this year through the IU spin-out company, MindX Sciences. 

For additional information on precision psychiatry and blood testing, interested individuals can visit the MindX Sciences website.

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