Summary: Patients at risk for psychosis have different levels of cortisol after waking than healthy controls, a new study reports.
Source: James Cook University.
JCU Associate Professor Zoltan Sarnyai said it was the first meta-analysis study to compare the level of cortisol in a waking patient’s body with the stage of schizophrenia they are suffering.
Dr Sarnyai said it means doctors may be able to eventually identify those who will develop full-blown psychosis from amongst those who present with early stages of the disease.
“Only some 20 to 30 per cent of individuals who are at high-risk of developing psychosis due to their clinical presentation or family history actually do so. Identifying those people early is where the cortisol measurement comes in.
“Biomarkers are very few and far between in psychiatry, so even though a huge amount of work is still needed, this could become a valuable technique,” said Dr Sarnyai.
Researchers at the Psychiatric Neuroscience Laboratory at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at JCU, conducted a meta-analysis of 11 studies.
The resulting paper, published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, shows that patients have different levels of the stress hormone after awakening (Cortisol Awakening Response, CAR) relative to healthy controls.
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