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Using biomarkers to identify and treat schizophrenia
Date:7/11/2012

They may not be able to reasonably explain how or what they think.

Light and colleagues investigated whether a select battery of neurophysiological and neurocognitive biomarkers could provide clinicians with reliable, accurate, long-term indicators of brain dysfunction, even when overt symptoms of the disorder were not apparent. These markers ranged from tests of attention and memory to physiological assessments of basic perceptual processes using scalp sensors to measure brain responses to simple sounds.

The researchers measured the biomarkers in 550 schizophrenia patients, and then re-tested 200 of the patients one year later. They found that most of the markers were significantly abnormal in schizophrenia patients, were relatively stable between the assessments and were not affected by modest fluctuations in clinical status of the patient.

Light said further research is required, including whether the endophenotypes can differentiate other psychiatric disorders, be used to anticipate patient response to different kinds of drugs or non-pharmacological interventions or even be used to predict which subjects are at high risk of developing a psychotic illness.

"We believe this paper is an important step towards validating laboratory-based biomarkers for use in future genomic and clinical treatment studies of schizophrenia," Light said.


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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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