Bipolar Blood Test???

According to an article at MSNBC, and another at the BBC, a blood test may be available in the next several years that can help determine the type and severity of mental illnesses including bipolar disorder.

The articles are about the same researcher, but the info contained in them differs slightly. Combining them, it looks like he suspects 10 different genes and several biomarkers (proteins), all of which can be tested via a blood test.

Assuming that he is right, I expect that he will find the biomarkers much more accurate than the genetic test. I suspect that many cases of bipolar are not entirely genetic, but that environmental factors may cause the same results – and the same biomarkers would be present.

I also think that this would be fantastic, if for no other reason than to separate those that are genetically bipolar from those that have the symptoms via external events in their life. This could differentiate between patients where life-long pharmacological treatment is required, and ones that can be helped without, or eventually weaned off meds.

Obviously, that would be a best-case. Even if the genetic test is shown to be faulty, the biomarkers alone could be very valuable in diagnosis and treatment (med levels, etc.)

Cynic that I am, I expect that his test will lead down a long winding, and dead-end road.


~ by namegoeshere on March 1, 2008.

One Response to “Bipolar Blood Test???”

  1. I wonder if they will find like with schizophrenia that it can be caused during pregnancy? I truly believe that my son was born bipolar, after finding out that some schizophrenics have been exposed to a virus while mom was pregnant causing the brain to build up in excess fatty proteins, it makes me wonder. Although I wonder if a true bipolar even if it is set off by environment will ever truly be functional without drugs.

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