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IU shrink explores mental health blood tests

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Today, psychiatrists must diagnose mental illnesses by asking patients a series of questions—perhaps over many sessions. But an Indiana University psychiatrist is trying to develop blood tests that would quickly and objectively diagnose patients suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu, a psychiatrist at the IU School of Medicine, has won a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to hunt for the presence of certain proteins in the blood that would indicate that a person suffers from a mood disorder, which afflicts one in five Americans.

“There is a strong need for a move towards comprehensive empirical testing and away from categorical diagnostic classifications,” according to the website for Niculescu’s lab. His team says its mission is “personalized psychiatry.”

The subjective nature of mental illness has always led to some doubt—both in medicine and in the general public—about the reality of mood disorders. The antidepressant Prozac, made by Eli Lilly and Co., is credited with revolutionizing the field in 1988 because it convinced many physicians that the disease was real.

Still, each individual antidepressant drug appears effective in a minority of the patients who take it. Scientists and pharmaceutical companies hope that by identifying the role of differing genes and proteins in different patients, they can tailor drugs more specifically to patients who benefit from them.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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