A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia has identified a number of biological markers that make it possible to classify mental disorders with greater precision. Their findings, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, may one day lead to improved diagnostics and treatments for those suffering from mental illness.

The advent of modern medical diagnostic tools has made it possible to identify the hallmarks of innumerable diseases with simple, reliable tests that portray the inner workings of the body in exquisite detail — allowing doctors to pinpoint the specific cause of a patient’s complaint and prescribe the proper course of treatment.

The same cannot be said, however, for the field of psychiatry. Despite advances in technology, there are no objective medical tests to diagnose mental disorders. Psychiatrists cannot find evidence of schizophrenia in a blood sample; they can’t see bipolar disorder in an X-ray.

 

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