Brain imaging biomarker could predict how psychiatric disorder patients respond to treatment

pharmafile | October 21, 2020 | News story | Research and Development MDMA, PTSD 

A recent study has indicated that a newly identified brain imaging biomarker could help match patients with psychiatric disorders with the most effective therapy to treat them. 

The research was funded by Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB), a non-profit research biotech specialising in brain health, with the study published in [Nature]. Led by Amit Etkin, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the research was titled ‘Identification of psychiatric disorder subtypes from functional connectivity patterns in resting-state electroencephalography (EEG)’.

In the study, researchers applied advanced machine learning techniques to data drawn from high-density resting state EEG signals to identify distinct functional connectivity patterns in brain circuits, allowing the team to stratify patients into subtypes.

In the study, subtypes of patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) did not differ in terms of clinical symptom severity before receiving treatment, but they did demonstrate different responses to treatment, as identified based on neural signatures through EEG.

The research team also identified strong subtype-related connectivity differences in PTSD as well as in MDD patients. Both subtype groups responded similarly to noninvasive transcranial magnetic brain stimulation, and this suggests that one subtype may respond best to pharmacological intervention through medication, while the other may be better served through transcranial magnetic brain stimulation treatment. 

“These discoveries have significant implications as they help stratify individuals independent of clinical diagnosis based on what may represent a new transdiagnostic biomarker,” remarked Dr Andreas Jeromin, Chief Scientific Officer at CVB. “This will enable discovery of a new generation of precision therapeutic discoveries and targeted treatments.”

Conor Kavanagh

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