Biotypes Highlight Unique Biological Manifestations of Psychosis

The unique biotypes may allow for more targeted treatments to be developed.

Investigators have identified several biomarkers that highlight different pathways to the development of clinically-similar but neurobiologically-different psychosis biotypes independent of clinical Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnoses.

“Psychiatry continues to rely on clinical diagnosis alone for defining diseases like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder with psychosis, which is like using fever to define various diseases associated with infection,” study author Brett Clementz, PhD, of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Georgia, Athens, told Neurology Advisor “Clinically-defined psychosis diagnoses show remarkable overlap on molecular, genetic, neuroanatomical, neuropsychological, psychophysiological, social functioning and treatment response variables, but these clinical diagnoses are not neurobiologically distinct.”

Both clinical and biomarker data models can be used to potentially redefine complex diseases and lead to enhancement of research and development of more targeted treatments, data published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests.

CLINICAL CHART: Psychosis Treatments

To investigate the possibility of psychosis classification based on neurobiological measures, Dr. Clementz and colleagues collected a biomarker panel on participants (n=711) with bipolar disorder with psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia and compared them to their first degree relatives (n=883) and demographically-matched healthy controls (n=278). The biomarker panel included neuropsychological, stop signal, saccadic control, and auditory stimulation paradigms. Data on social functioning, structural MRI, familial biomarkers, and clinical information was also collected.