Tags: test | blood | detect | genetic | diagnose | psychiatric | illness

New Blood Test May Detect Mental Health Disorders

scientist holding a vial of blood next to a model of a brain
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 March 2024 03:25 PM EDT

A variety of blood tests exist that help detect many different physical illnesses. Now, new research indicates that blood tests may be useful diagnostic tools to identify mental health disorders as well. Researchers at Johns Hopkins are developing a unique blood test that will hopefully identify psychiatric and mental health disorders including postpartum depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.

According to Study Finds, the test will detect disease-associated changes in the brain by analyzing genetic material found in blood. Specifically, the test will focus on the analysis of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the blood. EVs are tiny, fatty sacs filled with genetic materials like messenger RNA (mRNA), which play a crucial role in cell formation. These vesicles carry specific information of gene activity from all parts of the body, including the brain.

The  new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, builds on previous research from Johns Hopkins that discovered altered EV communication in pregnant women who went on to develop postpartum depression.

In a university release, Sarven Sabunciyan, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the study paper said, “We only detected placenta-specific EVs during the pregnancy, and not after birth. This was proof of concept, that we can detect EVs that are coming from a specific tissue or organ.”

The team of researchers identified markers in lab-grown brain tissue that are linked to various brain disorders normally diagnosed through clinical interviews. The development of a blood test to detect these disorders would signal a significant advance in early detection and potentially prevent severe outcomes, such as suicidal behavior, notes Study Finds. The goal of this research is to create a blood test to detect changes, such as higher or lower levels of blood EV mRNAs directly linked to changes in the brain associated with mental disorders without having access to the brain itself, said Sabunciyan.

While the Johns Hopkins study concentrated on postpartum depression using samples from only female patients, other researchers are working on ways to identify other disorders with blood tests. Researchers at Cambridge University developed a blood test that can identify bipolar disorder along with an online psychiatric assessment. Scientists at Indiana University created a blood test they say can spot anxiety as well as determine an individual’s risk of developing anxiety. The test also offers information on the most effective treatment, which helps doctors treat anxiety with more precision and less trial-and-error.

“Matching the right individuals to the right medications using their biomarker profile is a key actionable outcome of our work,” wrote the authors of the study.

Studies from Yale University reveal that 170 genes are linked to depression and this research could also lead to the development of a blood test for easier diagnosis and personalized treatment options for this condition that affects 16 million Americans. Finally, researchers at the University of San Diego School of Medicine scored a monumental breakthrough by identifying potential blood markers that signal suicidal thoughts. This could allow doctors to intervene in a timely manner and prevent tragedies. The unique metabolic changes detected in this study offer potential targets for personalized treatment, such as supplementing for nutritional deficiencies like folate or carnitine, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
A variety of blood tests exist that help detect many different physical illnesses. Now, new research indicates that blood tests may be useful diagnostic tools to identify mental health disorders as well. Researchers at Johns Hopkins are developing a unique blood test that...
test, blood, detect, genetic, diagnose, psychiatric, illness, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy
542
2024-25-12
Tuesday, 12 March 2024 03:25 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
Find Your Condition
Get Newsmax Text Alerts
TOP

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved