Psychotic disorders, like schizophrenia and delusional disorder, are classified as serious mental disorders that make people lose touch with reality. This is not just painful for the person suffering from it but also for the people close to them.
Researchers from a recent study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry have discovered that testing the levels of certain proteins in blood samples can predict whether a person is likely to develop a psychotic disorder beforehand. In fact, such a prediction can be made through the blood test years in advance.
Based on certain criteria, such as mild or brief psychotic symptoms, some people are considered to be clinically at a higher risk of developing a psychotic disorder. The researchers followed up with these individuals for several years keeping the analysis of their blood tests in mind. The follow-ups were primarily to see who did and did not develop a psychotic disorder.
After assessing the proteins in blood samples and using machine learning to analyse this data, the scientists were able to find patterns of proteins in the early blood samples that could predict who did and did not develop a psychotic disorder at follow-up.
Many of these proteins are involved in inflammation, suggesting that there are early changes in the immune system of people who go on to develop a psychotic disorder. The findings also suggest that it is possible to predict their outcomes using blood samples taken several years in advance.
Professor David Cotter, the study’s senior and corresponding author and professor of molecular psychiatry at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences says:
Ideally, we would like to prevent psychotic disorders, but that requires being able to accurately identify who is most at risk. Our research has shown that, with help from machine learning, analysis of protein levels in blood samples can predict who is at truly at risk and could possibly benefit from preventive treatments.
If the prediction of such severe disorders can be made beforehand, proper preventive measures can be taken for people at risk to avoid the development of any psychotic disorders.0