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IU researchers develop blood test for anxiety

iu anxiety blood test.PNG
Posted at 9:26 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 21:26:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have developed a blood test that can help those with anxiety.

By using biomarkers, the test can help medical professionals objectively determine someone’s risk for developing anxiety, the severity of their current anxiety and which therapies would likely treat their anxiety the best.

"Traditionally, anxiety disorders used to be considered a little bit less serious. And I think wrongly so, less serious than, let's say, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or other major psychiatric disorders," professor of psychiatry Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD said. "They can be very disabling."

During the study, participants completed a blood test every three to six months or whenever a new psychiatric hospitalization occurred. By examining the RNA biomarkers in their blood, researchers could identify a participant’s current state of anxiety and match them with medications and nutraceuticals, showing how effective different options could be for them based on their biology.

"We can use this sort of blood biomarker signature to find new potential treatments for anxiety, either through clinical trials or through looking at the existing databases of drugs," Niculescu said. "There are people who have anxiety and are not properly diagnosed and they go for months or years without the proper diagnosis."

The school says biomarkers can also change over time, and the blood test can help evaluate future risk.

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