Anxiety, a blood test can detect it and help doctors in treatment

Gianluca Riccio

Medicine

The test will objectively detect the presence and severity of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other conditions

The word “anxiety” can make anyone who suffers from it tremble. It is an increasingly widespread condition, often "invisible" to external eyes or difficult to communicate even to those closest to us.

Now researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have developed a blood test that can help doctors objectively determine a person's risk of developing anxiety, the severity of their condition, and which therapies may best treat it.

Anxiety in the blood

The newly developed diagnostic test uses RNA biomarkers to identify a variety of useful information from a single tube of blood.

The final goal of the method, illustrated in the latest issue of Molecular Psychiatry (I link it here) is to become a quick and complete tool. Alexander Niculescu, professor of psychiatry and first author of the study, is confident that this exam will be especially useful in choosing the treatment protocol.

A systematic review

Participants were divided into three independent cohorts: one discovery, one validation, and one test. Each of them completed a blood test every 3-6 months or whenever a new psychiatric hospitalization occurred.

The information obtained represents the database useful for identifying the ideal correlations between the psychophysical state of a patient and the best therapy (psychological or pharmacological).

Anxiety
Prof. Alexander Niculescu, first author of the study

Understanding how to combine the right type of drug with the right type of drug, and in the right dose, will give patients the possibility of being treated with less risk of developing drug addiction.

In the future

Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome: these will plausibly be the first conditions "observable" with a blood test.

In the future, even during a screening on other parameters, the diagnoses will be able to provide more and more information on physical and mental health.