A new study conducted by the University of Haifa, published in the prestigious journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that a simple blood test Can identify people facing bipolar disorder It can predict the efficacy of lithium salts, the drug used to treat this disease.
The findings allow a blood test to find out whether a person has bipolar disorder in as little as a few days and at relatively low cost. Bipolar disorder, better known as manic-depressive disorder, is a chronic psychological disorder characterized by acute and recurrent mood swings ranging from extreme happiness and sadness to extreme sadness. depressed. The prevalence of the disease in the adult population worldwide is 1% to 3%, with a mean age of onset of 19 years.
Currently, assessment of the level of bipolar disorder is performed by physicians who specialize in the field of bipolar disorder. Psychology, and included questions designed to determine whether patients had bipolar disorder and what treatments would work best for them. One of the most common treatments is lithium, but only about one-third of patients respond to the drug.
The team noted that since manic depression is associated with other disorders such as schizophrenia, at least in the early stages there is a risk of misdiagnosis. In addition, it is currently impossible to know in advance whether lithium will help individual patients.
The study aimed to explore whether a blood test could be used to identify people with bipolar disorder and predict how effective lithium treatment would be for that person. The study looked at cells from three different populations: people who didn’t have bipolar disorder; people who didn’t have bipolar disorder; people with bipolar disorder who responded to lithium treatment; and people who didn’t respond to lithium. people with the disease.
In the first phase of the study, white blood cells isolated from all participants were examined; by infecting the cells with the EBV virus that causes mononucleosis, a cell culture that can be maintained long-term was produced. In the second phase, the researchers extracted RNA from the cells to see which genes were expressed in each population and to identify differentially expressed genes. The findings showed that 80 percent of the gene expression differences were related to the expression of immunoglobulins, the main components of the immune system.
Following the biological discovery, the researchers used an artificial intelligence-based computational model consisting of neural networks. The researchers also used cells from other labs that ran the same biological processes as in the current study to verify that the computational model also applied to cells sampled from multiple labs.
The results of the mathematical model were able to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy whether an individual had bipolar disorder and would respond to lithium treatment.