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Int Arch Med. 2010 Jan 12;3:1. doi: 10.1186/1755-7682-3-1.

Biomarkers in psychiatry: drawbacks and potential for misuse.

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  • 1Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

For more than 20 years, researchers have attempted to identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, major (unipolar) depression, and bipolar disorder. Advocates of this research contend that identifying such biomarkers will aid in the diagnosis of these disorders, as well as the possible development of effective psychiatric medications to treat them. Currently, there are no diagnostic tests available. This is largely due to the multi-factorial nature of psychiatric disorders. Biomarker testing of individuals is also prohibitively expensive because significant expertise is required to conduct tests and follow-up counseling for the patient is often necessary. It is cautioned that widespread biomarker testing could lead to negative consequences such as discrimination in health insurance and employment, as well as selective abortion.

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