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New Blood Test For Schizophrenia


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Date: 11 Feb 2014

Uploader: Symposier
Lenght: 3m 3s
Specialty: Biotechnology General Medicine Internal Medicine Psychiatry

From Youtube, by: youris.com - European Research Media Center New Blood Test for Schizophrenia Currently the diagnosis of most mental illnesses is based on conversations and questionnaires. These could now be supported by a new low-cost blood test developed within the European research project SchizDX. This test evaluates the presence of certain proteins in blood samples of patients. Sabine Bahn from the University of Cambridge says that the new test is able to diagnose schizophrenia with a certainty of 83% and depression with a certainty of about 90%. Although the test could never stand on its own, it provides doctors with valuable backup information. Also patients are likely to profit from the new test, because now their illness is no longer an abstract condition that is restricted to something that happens in the mind. The abnormality in the blood will help patients psychologically to deal with their psychiatric disorder as with any other illness.

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It's a single-study laboratory-developed test (by Rules/Veripsych) (not approved by the FDA) authored by people with significant financial ties to the company which stands to profit from positive results (and has financial investment). I could find no outside verification in a peer-reviewed journal.

The research does not identify a "schizophrenia molecule" that distinguishes one person from another. It does not delineate between categorical "healthy" and "disease" states. It is a collection of 51 biomarkers - 20 of which were included for unclear reasons. Any predictive model will improve as you add additional variables. A model's "goodness of fit" is improved when increasing model complexity - use of additional variables has to be scientifically and statistically justified.

They use the data to create an algorithim, a posteriori. An algorithim isn't a researched hypothesis that is then validated by the data. It's a decision rule used to capture and classify all the variability in a given data set. That algorithim is not included in the paper. I don't see much of the math at all.

The test does not diagnose schizophrenia. According to their own (Veripsych) statements, it is an aid to the psychiatrist to diagnose schizophrenia. It generates false positives, false negatives and inconclusives. The test yields a statistical likelihood.

How valuable is a statistical likelihood to a psychiatrist and patient trying to diagnose a mental health condition? That decision should also be weighed with consideration of all the potential red flags at this stage of it's development.

Note the test was pulled and (as of March 2014), according to Veripsych, somewhat cryptically "needed further refinement".

If google results can be believed (grain of salt), it was a few thousand dollars during initial deployment.

Edited by Saros
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