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August 12, 2015
A year ago this month Robin Williams passed away, and many are appropriately choosing to remember him through the joy he brought to both the large and small screens. But August 11th is also an important reminder to think about our family, friends and co-workers who may be living quietly with bipolar disorder (BD), a condition from which William suffered. As optimists for new diagnostics and treatments, we wanted to share a promising study we came across last week about a new diagnostic test developed in China that seems to distinguish between BD and major depressive disorder (MDD), which are often confused.
Researchers at Chongqing Medical University compared the urine specimens of men with major depressive disorder (MDD) and with BD. Amazingly, they discovered that with 90% accuracy they could predict (or accurately diagnosis) that a patient had BD based on biomarkers found in the urine.
Certainly this data is only preliminary in nature and requires years of increased study before FDA consideration. What is most encouraging and exciting for us is that a simple, low-cost urine test, as opposed to weeks or years of subjective, psychological study, could lead to not only the proper care of symptomatic patients, but also could contribute to earlier intervention..
Exciting times for the global mental health research community. The public health impact of correctly helping and treating these patients could be profound to the impacted patients and their immediate families.
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