Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Latest News: Blood Test May Determine Bipolar Disorder!

This is great news in the mental health field -- a physical test to determine bipolar disorder! I imagine this could help misdiagnosis and could help get people treatment much sooner. I've read in numerous places that the average bipolar patient took 8-10 years before they were properly diagnosed. Which is tragic -- how many lives were ruined because they weren't getting proper treatment?

I personally was misdiagnosed as having depression and an anxiety disorder for 10 years. I started seeing a psychiatrist when I was 14 -- I was even hospitalized and saw at least 3 different psychiatrists and 3 therapists - and yet no one picked up on the fact that I was bipolar - despite the fact that I was clearly going through periods of hypomania and even full-blown mania. And yet they couldn't figure out why antidepressants didn't work when I was in a low period. So they just kept raising the dosage.

In fact it was antidepressants that threw me into the worst manic episode I ever had -- where I went into a full-blown psychosis. Going into psychosis and being hospitalized had a tremendous affect on my life. I don't think I returned to a more "normal" state for 3-4 months -- and I didn't feel like myself for at least a year - because I was doped up on antipsychotic medications that made me constantly tired and dampened my personality (it kept me from being manic and it also kept me from feeling normal happiness) - not to mention that the combination of Depakote and Zyprexa made me gain 55 pounds in 3 months.

And now back to the news on the blood test ...


Here's the story from FoxNews.com:
Study: Blood Test May Determine Bipolar Disorder
A simple blood test could now diagnose and help treat patients suffering from bipolar disorder, according to new research from Indiana University’s School of Medicine.

The study is published in the Feb. 26 online edition of the Molecular Psychiatry journal.

Research has shown that certain biomarkers are found in differing amounts in the blood of individuals who suffer from varying degrees of mood disorders, according to a news release. Doctors could use these biomarkers to determine treatment for those suffering with bipoloar disorder, the study found.

"This discovery is a major step towards bringing psychiatry on par with other medical specialties that have diagnostic tools to measure disease states and the effectiveness of treatments," said Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu III, lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry, medical neurobiology and neuroscience at the IU School of Medicine Institute of Psychiatric Research, in a news release.

"Although psychiatrists have been aware that bipolar illness and other psychiatric conditions produced molecular changes in the brain, there was no way to measure those changes while the patient was living," Niculescu said. "Blood now can be used as a surrogate tissue to diagnose and assess the severity of the illness."


Here's a longer more indepth article from MSNBC on the blood test and what it means to the mental health field

Check out the full study on Nature.com
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