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A first blood test to detect bipolar disorders, how does it work?

  • March 22, 2024
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These are psychiatric disorders which affect nearly 2.5% of the population, but whose figures could be underestimated due to the difficulty of identifying them: bipolar disorders. Indeed, these disorders, characterized by the alternation of manic or hypomanic phases and depressive phases, are diagnosed on average 8 to 10 years after the appearance of the first symptoms. But a blood test, available from April 1, could help detect bipolar disorder.

Developed by the SYNLAB medical biology laboratories, in partnership with ALCEDIAG, this test, called “myEDIT-B”, could help identify the disease from its first signs and differentiate it. of depression. Reliable “more than 80%”this blood test, the price of which is between 800 and 900 euros, is not covered by Social Security.

Bipolar disorders: a blood test could help diagnose them

Currently, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is based on a clinical examination based in particular on monitoring the symptoms of patients by questioning, among other things, their family or loved ones, but also “by tracing the history of manic and depressive episodes that have already occurred (type, frequency, triggering circumstances, etc.)”, as specified by Health Insurance. But despite this process, the diagnosis could in certain cases be inaccurate due to the resemblance to a characterized depressive episode also called depression. Indeed, the symptoms are similar to those of the depressive phases of bipolar disorder.

Next April, a new blood test, called myEDIT-B, should make it possible to make an early diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The latter is not intended to replace the process already in place, but to complement the usual diagnostic tools. According to the results of the two clinical trials, this test would be of reliability of more than 80%.

myEDIT-B blood test: how does it work and who is it for?

When taking blood, the myEDIT-B screening test “measures RNA editing changes of specific markers in patients’ blood.” More specifically, they focus on 8 RNA sequences with a signature to differentiate between unipolar and bipolar depression. Different data are also taken into account such as age, sex, but also treatments and addictions.

Before being made available on the market, the effectiveness of this blood test was measured in two clinical trials. The first was carried out in France on 255 patients and the results of which were published in the scientific journal Nature: Translational Psychiatry. The second trial was carried out in Switzerland on 143 patients. “The results of the EDIT-B test on these two cohorts show similar performances and greater than 80% for the sensitivity and specificity of the test (publication in progress)”, note the authors.

Available from April 1, this test, whose cost is between 800 and 900 euros, will be available only on prescription from a psychiatrist. In addition, it is aimed at “patients men and women aged 18 and more, treated for a Characterized Depressive Episode (CDE), moderate or severe”.

Other research is being carried out to help diagnose bipolar disorders using a blood test. In October 2022, Professor Raoul Belzeaux, PU-PH in psychiatry, won the Marcel Dassault prize for his project rapid screening for bipolar disorder from a simple blood test. The effectiveness of this test must still be confirmed by a clinical trial.

Sources :

  • myEDIT-B 1st blood test to differentiate between depression and bipolar disorders – Press kit
  • SYNLAB and ALCEDIAG launch the myEDIT-B blood test in France to differentiate between depression and bipolar disorders (press release)
  • Health Insurance – Bipolar Disorders
author avatar
Louis Tardy