Schizophrenia biomarkers found

California scientists have been able to identify neurophysiological and neurocognitive biomarkers that can more accurately diagnose schizophrenia.

According to the leader of the research team, psychiatrist Gregory A. Light, the current diagnosis of schizophrenia is based on the often subjective conclusions of the doctor. “Even the best of psychiatrists face problems in diagnosis due to the unclear clinical picture and the incomplete information they receive from the patient,” Light is quoted by ScienceDaily. “Many people with schizophrenia simply cannot adequately convey what is happening to them.” That is why, Light emphasized, the need for a diagnostic device that gives an unbiased assessment of the patient’s condition is extremely high.

The markers, known as endophenotypes, may ultimately be a boon for both clinicians and those who are diagnosed only on the subjective feelings of doctors.

For research, Light’s group attracted more than five hundred people. Comparative analysis was carried out on the basis of the results of testing 341 patients with schizophrenia and 205 healthy people from the control group. The study identified a number of features that the authors claim are reliable, accurate, consistent, and long-term indicators of a person having schizophrenia. Moreover, regardless of the severity of the symptoms of the disease.

Biomarkers were selected based on a series of neurophysiological and neurocognitive tests. Attention and memory, brain response to external stimuli, basic perception processes, and much more were assessed. After the processing of the results revealed the characteristic features inherent in patients with schizophrenia, the experiment was repeated a year later on a narrower group of participants. He showed that the absolute majority of previously detected abnormal characteristics, their corresponding indicators and ratios, did not change over time, despite fluctuations in the clinical picture of the patients’ disease.

On this basis, the authors believe that the biomarkers they have selected can be considered as endophenotypes of schizophrenia in the course of further clinical and genomic studies of this disease.

Endophenotype is an intermediate link that reflects the relationship between genetic prerequisites and clinical manifestations of the disease.

Schizophrenia is a polymorphic mental illness characterized by the breakdown of thought processes and emotional reactions. The most common manifestations of the disease are auditory hallucinations, paranoid or fantastic delusions, disorganized speech and thinking against the background of impaired performance. The reason for the development of schizophrenia has not yet been identified, but it is noted that the disease is characterized by a pronounced genetic component – this disease often manifests itself in members of the same family.