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Protein levels in blood can predict likelihood of psychotic disorder, Irish study finds



Scientists have discovered that testing the levels of certain proteins in blood samples can predict whether a person at risk of psychosis is likely to develop a psychotic disorder years later.

he Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) researchers led a study where blood samples were taken from people at clinical high risk of psychosis.

The researchers then followed up the individuals for several years to see who developed a psychosis disorder and it was found that patterns of proteins in the blood samples could predict who did and who did not develop a disorder.

Based on certain criteria, such as mild or brief psychotic symptoms, some people are considered to be clinically at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia.

Most of the proteins in the blood samples are inflammatory, suggesting that there are early changes in the immune system in 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.

“Ideally, we would like to prevent psychotic disorders, but that requires being able to accurately identify who is most at risk,” said Professor David Cotter, the study’s senior and corresponding author and professor of molecular psychiatry at RCSI.

“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. We now need to study these markers in other people at high risk of psychosis to confirm these findings.”

The most accurate test was based on the 10 most predictive proteins and correctly identified those who would go on to develop a psychotic disorder in 93pc of high-risk cases, and it correctly identified those who would not in 80pc of cases.

The researchers have now filed a patent application and is working to license this research or partner with companies within the industry.

The study is published in the current edition of JAMA Psychiatry and was led by researchers from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

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1 comment:

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