A blood test to diagnose bipolarity? It’s in progress

A new innovation could revolutionize medicine: there would be blood tests that would make it possible Diagnose bipolarity. Progress never stops. On social networks, the discovery is attributed to Professor Raoul Belzeaux, currently a psychiatrist at Montpellier University Hospital.

For many internet users this is impossible. And truth be told, it’s a little bit what we tell ourselves when we hear the news. “Detecting a Mental Disorder by Blood? For real ? asks one of them. “It’s just nonsense. “Some even dare to make a comparison: “Of course, all Raoul teachers are crossed out. » A reference to our love Didier Raoult who wanted to cure Covid-19 with hydroxychloroquine. 20 minutes discusses this discovery.


According to the High Health Authority, an average of ten long years elapse between the onset of the first symptoms and the medical diagnosis of a bipolar disorder. So a blood test would inevitably be much easier and quicker. A blessing for people suffering from this pathology, which is included in the top 10 most disabling diseases such as: the world health organization. Well, it will be soon, because this test is very real.

Behind the discovery are Dr. Raoul Belzeaux, previously a psychiatrist at the University Hospitals of Marseille, and other researchers and doctors from the FondaMental Foundation. “Bipolarity is a disabling disease that affects daily life. It can affect different areas such as These include, for example, cognitive abilities – by disturbing the memory, attention or executive functions of the patients –, sleep or even excessive tiredness”. explains the foundation.

This delay in diagnosis disadvantages patients who cannot benefit from the right treatment or follow-up care. “This discrepancy can be explained by the lack of knowledge of the disease on the part of doctors, who often associate the symptoms of bipolarity with those of depression,” the foundation continues. It is estimated that currently 40% of undiagnosed depressives may actually suffer from bipolarity. However, “taking antidepressants may actually make the disorder worse in a bipolar patient,” say the researchers.

Clinical studies have yet to validate the test

By a study Experts published in 2021 have found that bipolarity leaves traces in the blood. They identified blood biomarkers to refine the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. More specifically, the detection and measurement of cytokines in the blood, a biomarker of inflammation, allows distinguishing between patients with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. The test is therefore only applicable after a doctor has diagnosed depression: it then only allows “distinguishing depression from bipolar disorder”.

For this discovery, Professor Raoul Belzeaux received the Marcel Dassault Prize for Innovation 2022. Psychiatry at the service of patients. “This award will facilitate the funding of the clinical study needed to validate the rapid test and develop its industrial use,” announced the Montpellier CHU. on his side.

The effectiveness of this test has yet to be confirmed by a clinical study. It is intended to be included in the list of products approved and reimbursed by health insurance for the benefit of the patient and our healthcare system.

Another similar test is in the spotlight: that of start-up Aleciag, a biopharmaceutical company based in Hérault. “When the brain malfunctions, it sends signals throughout the body, just like a diseased kidney or liver would,” explains Dinah Weissmann, co-founder of the company. in western France. The test, called Edit-B, was developed after ten years of work and will be marketed in Italy and Switzerland in early 2023. This will then be the case in France, to an undisclosed extent. Discussions are ongoing with the health authorities regarding a possible reimbursement from Social Security.

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