From Science Daily:
In a groundbreaking study led by UT Southwestern Medical Center, a comprehensive set of empirical biomarkers has been established to aid in diagnosis and treatment of psychosis.
To date, the gold standard for diagnosis of psychosis has been clinical observation, classifying patients into schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorders. But in this study, the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes (B-SNIP) identified three neurobiologically distinct biotypes that do not always match up with the conventional clinical diagnosis.
An estimated 6 percent of the U.S. population experience schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or bipolar disorders. That’s as many as 19 million Americans.
“In a sense, we have totally deconstructed and rethought the basis for diagnosis in psychosis,” said Dr. Carol Tamminga, Chair of Psychiatry at the UT Southwestern, who leads the consortium. “Building diagnoses based on biology, not just phenomenology, makes it possible for the biological bases of these brain disorders to stand out as molecular targets for disease definition and novel treatments.”
The B-SNIP consortium, which also includes Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Georgia, published its findings online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
“In the end, we found the term ‘psychosis’ might actually describe a number of unique psychiatric disorders, just as the term ‘congestive heart failure’ might describe a range of cardiac, renal, and pulmonary disorders, each having distinctive mechanisms and treated with specific remedies,” said Dr. Elena Ivleva, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and the study co-leader at UT Southwestern.
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