Incredible new blood test for PTSD is in the works.
After a decade long research project, led by a team of scientists at Indiana University School of Medicine investigating blood-based genetic biomarkers, a newly published study revealed the development of a blood test that can identify patients most at risk for developing PTSD and possibly even predict future psychiatric hospitalizations.
The research focused on correlating objective blood-based biomarkers with subjective sensations of psychological stress. The team ultimately uncovered 285 specific blood biomarkers that correlated with the severity of the subjects PTSD.
"There are similar tests like this in other fields, like cancer, where a physician can biopsy the affected part of the body to determine the stage of disease," explains Alexander Niculescu, psychiatry professor from Indiana University, and lead on the new study. "But when it comes to mental health, biopsying the brain isn't an option. Our research is applying similar concepts from other areas of medicine, but we're engineering new ways that will allow us to track mental symptoms objectively, including stress, using blood, or so-called 'liquid biopsies.'" (Haridy, 2019)
The blood test, if successfully implemented could offer benefits to both patients and doctors. Acute PTSD severity could be measured allowing for clear and quantifiable insights into whether a patient is improving through a given treatment. The test could also allow for more precise treatments tailored to the individual patient. The researchers pointed out specific gene expression signatures that could indicate the specific drug targets that would be most effective for the patient.
Niculescu and his research team may be several years away from rolling these blood tests out into clinical settings but the pathway is certainly promising. The researchers are currently seeking more funding and institutional collaborations to better develop this kind of comprehensive blood-based biomarker research.
PTSD can develop in response to traumatic or life-threatening events, causing anxiety, fear and nightmares. PTSD is the result of powerful memories of extreme fear response.
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Haridy, R. (2019, March 13). Breakthrough blood test for PTSD on the horizon. Retrieved from https://newatlas.com/blood-test-ptsd-gene-biomarker/58833/