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A blood test to detect psychosis

New York: Offering a ray of hope for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis, a blood test may help identify if they are at the risk of developing serious brain disorders later in life.

Psychosis includes hallucinations or delusions that lead to the development of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

The blood test when used in psychiatric patients experiencing symptoms, which were considered to be indicators of psychosis, identified those who later went on to develop psychosis, the findings showed.

"The blood test included a selection of 15 measures of immune and hormonal system imbalances as well as evidence of oxidative stress," said corresponding author of the study Diana Perkins, professor of psychiatry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"These results provide evidence regarding the fundamental nature of schizophrenia, and point towards novel pathways that could be targets for preventative interventions," Perkins added.

Schizophrenia emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood and affects about one in every 100 people.

In severe cases, the impact on a young person can be devastating, and the burden on family members can be almost as severe.

"Modern, computer-based methods can readily discover seemingly clear patterns from nonsensical data," co-author of the study Clark Jeffries from Renaissance Computing Institute in the US said.

"Scientific results from studies of complex disorders like schizophrenia can be confounded by many hidden dependencies. Thus, stringent testing is necessary to build a useful classifier. We did that," Jeffries emphasised.

The multiplex blood assay, if independently replicated and if integrated with studies of other classes of biomarkers, has the potential to be of high value in the clinical setting, the study concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin

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