Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 145  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-16

Potential biomarkers for bipolar disorder: Where do we stand?

Department of Psychiatry, All Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajesh Sagar
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1386_16

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Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe, recurrent mood disorder, associated with a significant morbidity and mortality, with high rates of suicides and medical comorbidities. There is a high risk of mood disorders among the first-degree relatives of patients with BD. In the current clinical practice, the diagnosis of BD is made by history taking, interview and behavioural observations, thereby lacking an objective, biological validation. This approach may result in underdiagnosis, misdiagnosis and eventually poorer outcomes. Due to the heterogeneity of BD, the possibility of developing a single, specific biomarker is still remote; however, there is a set of promising biomarkers which may serve as predictive, prognostic or treatment markers in the future. The review presents a critical appraisal and update on some of the most promising candidates for biomarkers, namely, neuroimaging markers, peripheral biomarkers and genetic markers, including a brief discussion on cognitive endophenotypes as indicative of genetic risk. The lessons learnt from other fields and specialties in medicine need to be applied to psychiatry to translate the knowledge from 'bench to bedside' by means of clinically useful biomarkers. Overall, the biomarkers may help in pushing the shift towards personalized medicine for psychiatric patients.

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