Possible test for schizophrenia, ADHD?by Susan Moreno on Jul. 29, 2010, under ADHD, brain disorders, Health, mental illness, mental illness research, recovery, schizophrenia, stigma
Actually, the test may help predict those that are at a high risk for a certain mental disorder. No matter, this is a huge breakthrough! Currently doctors use a psychiatric manual, the DSM IV (the fifth version should be out soon) to diagnose phychiatric disease. It can be far from accurate as so many mental illnesses are complex disorders with a multitude of symptoms that can ebb and flow and even change over the years.
The new test is not really new. The EEG (electroencephalography) has been around for years. It measures brainwaves and researchers have found that a certain type of brain wave is slightly different in people whose siblings have schizophrenia. Researchers believe it could be used to identify people at risk so treatment can be introduced pre-emptivley. The test could possibly be used to see how the treatment is working as well.
The research showed that a certain activity, called the P300 marker, was reduced in people that had siblings with schizophrenia. That marker is thought to represent attentional and inhibitory control aspects of brain processing. But, the diminished activity of the marker may be a sign of increased risk for the illness, not a sign of the illness itself.
Researchers are also investigating P300 in people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Separate studies have linked brain disorders to malfunctions in genes involved in making synapses between brain cells.
These are all positives signs in the slow progress to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. It is difficult enough to accept a mental illness for a loved one, or for the patient himself. A specific test will help that process and make treatment more accurate as well.