Schizophrenia is a debilitating disease that can make navigating daily life a massive challenge. Black people who suffer from depression are more likely to be misdiagnosed with Schizophrenia. However, a new blood test could flag Schizophrenia in its early stages and prevent Black people from getting misdiagnosed, researchers say.
Their analysis of blood samples identified epigenetic markers — part of your DNA — that differ between people with schizophrenia and those without the mental health disorder.
The researchers developed a model to assess a person’s risk for schizophrenia, and testing on an independent dataset showed that the model can identify schizophrenia patients with 80 percent accuracy.
“Schizophrenia is a devastating disease that affects about one percent of the world’s population,” corresponding author Dr. Robert Waterland says. “Although genetic and environmental components seem to be involved in the condition, current evidence only explains a small portion of cases, suggesting that other factors, such as epigenetic, also could be important.”
In order to find epigenetic markers for schizophrenia, the researchers used a machine-learning algorithm to look for DNA methylation patterns in specific regions of the human genome called CoRSIVs.
DNA methylation is a common epigenetic marker.
A number of previous studies have analyzed methylation profiles in blood samples in an attempt to identify