Schizophrenia vs Bipolar disorder: Biomarkers to the rescue

Posted on Dec 18, 2019 by Delveinsight

Schizophrenia vs Bipolar disorder: Biomarkers to the rescue

Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder (BD) are most of the times difficult to distinguish. Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations, and delusions when a patient loses reality and feels detached. On the other hand, Bipolar disorder a person suffers from extreme phases of mood swings from sometimes depression to sometimes manic. Schizophrenia is a condition when the brain of the patient fails to acknowledge what is real and what is not. It is a psychotic disorder, whereas bipolar disorder is a primary mood disorder; however, both involve psychosis.

Why is the distinction important?

There have been multiple pieces of research carried out to compare the two disorders in terms of the symptoms exhibited and psychosis. Shreds of evidence reveal that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do share a genetic history. 

In research, it was found that genetic mutations or alterations that contribute to schizophrenia are also prevalent in patients facing mania. Moreover, developmental risk factors and around three gene loci among the genes of interest were also found to common in both the patients. However, others also pointed toward dissimilarities in the two conditions. Under MRI, the differences in gray matter volume, cortical and subcortical areas, insula and thalamus were observed when compared the patients of Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. 

The results have been contradictory. And misdiagnosis leads to complications and proves treatment regimen ineffective. Early detection of the disorders is crucial because of appropriate treatment.

The role of Biomarkers

In research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Blood serum metabolomics has been praised because of their ability to distinguish among different psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

In the study, Blood serum samples of a total of 54 Schizophrenia patients, 68 Bipolar disorder patients and 60 healthy volunteers were tested for the metabolites with the help of proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 

The results of the study revealed the presence of different chemical molecules in the patients of two different disorders. 

The study did pour the light on the capabilities of the biomarkers to identify and help in better diagnosis of the psychiatric disorders. However, the study had some limitations like small a patient pool, ethnicity, and different medications the patients were on.

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