Researchers evaluated the experimental blood test in psychiatric patients with symptoms associated with a high risk for psychosis. The blood test measured expression of plasma analytes, reflecting inflammation, oxidative stress, hormones, and metabolism. The researchers found that the test did help identify patients who later went on to develop psychosis.
“The blood test included a selection of 15 measures of immune and hormonal system imbalances as well as evidence of oxidative stress,” study lead author Diana Perkins, MD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said in a university news release. “While further research is required before this blood test could be clinically available, these results provide evidence regarding the fundamental nature of schizophrenia, and point towards novel pathways that could be targets for preventative interventions.”
Schizophrenia, which develops in late adolescence and early adulthood, affects about one in 100 people. “If confirmed in other groups of persons at elevated risk of psychosis, a multiplex blood assay has the potential for high clinical utility,” the authors conclude.