21.01.2010

Eye test could lead to diagnostic tool for depression

Eye test could lead to diagnostic tool for depression

By Adrian Galbreth

A new eye test could one day help diagnose manic depression, according to researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The team have been using artificial visuals known as "binocular rivalry" to help establish a biomarker for depression which can be used to aid clinical diagnosis.

Outlining the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, neuroscientist Dr Steven Miller said that normally the left and right eyes look at similar views and the brain combines both inputs to allow people to perceive distances.

However, if each eye is given completely different images the brain focuses on one and then flips to the other.

During the course of the research, the team studied the flip rates of 200 subjects and noted that people with manic depression had a statistically significantly slower average flip rate. They then compared the flip rates of 350 pairs of twins with no psychiatric disorders and noted that identical twins had a more similar flip rate than non-identical twins.

It was concluded that genetics is responsible for 52 per cent of the variability in flip rate and the team suggested it is a biological marker of the inherited bipolar disorder.

Earlier this month, it was reported in the journal Cell Death & Disease that an eye test could help boost the detection rate for Alzheimer"s.

by Adrian Galbreth


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