A recent proof-of-concept study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that metabolomic profiling could enhance the accuracy of differentiating mood disorders, potentially improving the diagnosis of conditions like bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD).
The study, conducted by Dr. Jakub Tomasik and colleagues at the University of Cambridge, focused on analyzing metabolomic biomarkers derived from dried blood spots collected from patients experiencing depressive episodes.
The research encompassed 241 patients in the discovery cohort and an additional 30 individuals in the validation cohort.
Among the 241 patients initially diagnosed with MDD and experiencing depressive symptoms, 67 were later diagnosed with BD through the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
The study identified a panel of 17 biomarkers that demonstrated promise in distinguishing between BD and MDD.
These biomarkers exhibited a mean cross-validated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.71, with ceramide d18:0/24:1 emerging as the most robust biomarker.
The significance of this discovery was further underscored by the observation that incorporating biomarker data alongside patient-reported information significantly improved the diagnostic accuracy of models.
This improvement surpassed the performance of models based on extensive demographic data, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores, and outcomes from the Mood Disorder Questionnaire.
Additionally, the study identified a correlation between the biomarkers and lifetime manic symptoms.
In a separate group consisting of individuals recently diagnosed with either MDD (21 patients) or BD (nine patients), the same set of identified biomarkers displayed a mean cross-validated AUROC of 0.73, reaffirming their diagnostic potential.
The study’s findings hold significant promise for the development of a readily accessible biomarker test that could aid in distinguishing between BD and MDD.
Furthermore, the research points to the potential involvement of ceramides in the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of mood disorders.
It is important to note that several authors involved in the study disclosed affiliations with Psyomics, which partially funded the research. Additionally, two authors disclosed a pending patent related to dried blood spot biomarkers for bipolar disorder.
While further research is needed, this study represents an important step toward more accurate and accessible diagnostic tools for mood disorders, potentially offering improved clinical care for patients.
If you care about mental health, please read studies about 6 foods you can eat to improve mental health, and B vitamins could help prevent depression and anxiety.
The research findings can be found in JAMA Psychiatry.
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