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Bipolar research ‘paves the way for first diagnostic lab test in psychiatry’



Researchers in the UK have discovered new genetic biomarkers in bipolar spectrum disorder, potentially paving the way for the first ever diagnostic lab test in psychiatry.

The study from the team at The London Psychiatry Centre (TLPC) was published in the Journal of Personalised Medicine.

The research found a surprising number of mutations occurring in bipolar spectrum disorder compared to the general population.

The mutations were found in the thyroid hormone activation and transportation pathways, both in and outside the brain of patients who had been diagnosed with the condition.

Study lead Dr Andy Zamar, Medical Director of TLPC, said: “We are very excited about these findings and have commissioned King’s College London (KCL) to conduct an independent replication study.

“We may well be 24-36 months away from a diagnostic lab test for bipolar spectrum disorder.”

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects mood.

People with the condition have episodes of depression and mania, which can swing from one extreme to the other.

The condition affects around one in 50 people in the UK.

Zamar added:

“It takes an average of 13 years to diagnose bipolar disorders in the UK with the majority (the subthreshold form), remaining undiagnosed for life.

“Patients are often prescribed antidepressants which make the condition worse.

“We hope the results of this paper lead to a test for bipolar spectrum disorder and enables not only accurate and speedy diagnosis, but ensures patients don’t suffer the impacts of misdiagnosis and mistreatment.”

TLPC has a pending patent for the first potential lab test for bipolar spectrum disorder.

The centre has introduced a number of new technologies to the UK and Europe, including the combination of rTMS and thyroid hormones in the treatment of bipolar spectrum disorder.

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