AI-powered Molecular Blood Test Speeds Up Bipolar Diagnosis

The test, to hit the EU market this year, is more than 85% accurate.

Helen Hwang, Contributor

April 10, 2023

2 Min Read
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At a Glance

  • EDIT-B is the first molecular blood test for bipolar disorder, reducing diagnostic delays from 7.5 years on average to days.
  • An EU-funded consortium said the test is more than 85% accurate.
  • The test does not require special equipment and is expected to hit the market in 2023.

A European health care alliance has developed a molecular blood test that can speed up bipolar disorder diagnosis exponentially. The test is expected to hit the EU market this year.

The EU-funded EDIT-B Consortium includes Alcediag, Alcen, Capital Region of Denmark, Fundació Clinic per la Recerca Biomèdica, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, GHU Paris Psychiatrie & Neurosciences, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, ProductLife Group, and SYNLAB.

A common mental health condition, bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings especially manic and depressive episodes, according to the group. There are 45 million cases diagnosed worldwide – 70% in ages 16 to 25 − compared to more than 300 million with depression. However, up to 40% of depressed patients could actually have bipolar disorder. EDIT-B said its test can separate bipolar from depression in patients.

Currently, bipolar disorder is diagnosed through physical exam, mood charting, psychiatric assessment, analysis of the patients’ and their families’ medical histories.

The blood test, called EDIT-B, uses molecular biology, next-generational sequencing and AI to diagnose bipolar disorder. The test is “the first molecular test, based on RNA related biomarkers, which can, from a simple blood draw combined with clinical evaluation, make the differential diagnosis between bipolar disorder and unipolar depression,” the group said in a blog.

The consortium said the test is more than 85% accurate and does not require special equipment. EDIT-B is based on the RNA biomarkers and algorithms of AI startup Alcediag. RNA biomarkers are changes that can be detected in genes for diseases including bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, lupus and others.

On average, diagnosing bipolar disorder takes 7.5 years since the illness is often confused with depression. The new test should reduce the diagnostic delay “to a matter of days,” the group said.

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About the Author(s)

Helen Hwang

Contributor, AI Business

Helen Hwang is an award-winning journalist, author, and mechanical engineer. She writes about technology, health care, travel, and food. She's based in California.

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