December 03, 2007

A More Accurate Way of Diagnosing Schizophrenia?

The chances of diagnosing schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders correctly during the first visit to a doctor are small, says a news story. Apparently, as many as 70% of first-time psychiatric patients suffering from a range of disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, are incorrectly diagnosed. This is a major problem (though understandable because of the overlap in symptoms with many mental illnesses), and a new patent written by University of Queensland Professor of physiology, John Pettigrew, suggests that it may be helpful in correcting this problem.

The idea behind the patent has to do with a viewer's response to visual stimulus. Apparently, if a different visual stimulus is presented to each eye, "the brain switches from perceiving one image to the other." In the case of people afflicted with schizophrenia, the rate at which the brain switches between images is much faster than that of non-afflicted people.

Pettigrew and his team have used this idea to create a specific image, which they believe tests the idea. Their image consists of "two slatted forms or 'gratings' (which) are superimposed to form a diamond-shaped pattern. When the gratings move, the viewer sees either the diamond patterns move, or the gratings move relative to each other." The patent that Pettigrew and his team have created is a device that uses this image to test a viewer's response rate. The rate at which the viewer responds determines not only existing psychiatric disorders, but also a predisposition to them. Pettigrew has already tested a few volunteers, and found the device to be effective in diagnoses. Obviously, more research needs to be conducted before any solid conclusions can be drawn.

Read More About the Patent

Comments this any type of concensus in the field that this will really work? And by that I mean more that 10% of the time.

Posted by: Rob at December 3, 2007 03:53 PM

Hi Rob,

This is just early research that has recently been done. It will likely take a few years to see if this is proven effective in larger samples by other researchers.

Posted by: SzAdministrator at December 3, 2007 04:04 PM

You can't ever be accurate diagnosing something when is based around cobbled together DSM/ICD10 catagories that are neither scientifically valid or reliable, the whole concept of diagnosing accuratly is bollocks sorry

Posted by: qeqeq at February 26, 2008 05:47 AM

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