Genetic Scorecard for Schizophrenia may Not be as Diagnostic as Anticipated

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The disease is highly inherited. However, it cannot be linked to a single gene and is influenced by a

Moreover, not all the patients respond well to treatment.

‘Advanced genetic scorecards may not be able to predict the worsening of a schizophrenic patient’s symptoms. The detailed medical reports by the doctors may include much more valuable and predictive information than it was originally recognized.’

Polygenic Risk Score

The study team analyzed the genetic and medical records of more than 8,000 schizophrenia patients using cutting-edge computer programs. The commonly used tool for summarizing the genetic component of a person’s risk for a disease – polygenic risk score, was explored for its potential.

“The polygenic risk score basically adds up all of the traits that are associated with a complex disorder. Initially it was designed to be descriptive tool. More recently, scientists have proposed that it could be an effective tool for precision medicine wherein a person’s genetics is used to diagnose disease and predict outcomes. In this study we wanted to rigorously test out whether the polygenic risk score could also be a predictive tool,” says Isotta Landi, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Charney’s lab and the lead author of the study.

It was found that outcome of a patient’s disease over time than was no better predicted than the written reports, thereby raising a question about the usage of polygenic risk scores in real-world clinical situations.

Role of Genetics and Schizophrenia

The study also suggests that a doctor’s written report may be an untapped source of predictive information.

“Treating schizophrenia patients is a heart-wrenching experience. One of the hardest parts about taking care of patients is trying to determine whether each patient’s condition will worsen or improve. If we could do that, then we might help relieve the suffering that the patients and their loved ones experience. Our results show that for the mental illnesses most deeply characterized at the genetic level, the current state of genetics research cannot solve this problem just yet,” says Alexander W. Charney, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Icahn Mount Sinai and the senior author of the study published in Nature Medicine.

The study thereby suggests that more works are required to harness the role of genetics in improving the treatment of schizophrenia patients. Moreover, the detailed medical reports by the doctors may include more valuable and predictive information than it was originally anticipated.

Source: Medindia

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