Welcome to SchizDX Project
Schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder are a major burden to affected individuals and their families as well as to society at large. These two severe mental illnesses affect at least 2% of the population worldwide, and up to ~ 50% of sufferers do not receive adequate treatment. Further, these disorders cost hundreds of billions in healthcare provision, treatments and lost earnings.
The current diagnosis of schizophrenia (and other psychiatric
disorders, such as bipolar depression) is highly subjective, not
only because of the complex spectrum of symptoms and their overlap with
other mental disorders, but also due to the lack of empirical markers
or objective tests specific for the disease. In addition, contemporary
drug treatments do not effectively treat all aspects of the disease and
can often have severe side effects that make it difficult for many
patients to continue with medication. Despite intensive efforts by the
pharmaceutical industry, therapeutic regimes available to treat these
disorders are largely aimed at relieving symptoms and work best at
slowing or halting the underlying disease progression in early stage or
less severe cases, making early and accurate diagnosis essential.
However, psychiatrists currently come to their diagnosis based on observation of both the presence and duration (up to 6 months) of certain signs and symptoms. Many times patients visit their doctor during the prodrome phase due to anxiety, social isolation, difficulty making choices, and problems with concentration and attention, symptoms presenting many psychiatric and medical conditions, making absolute diagnosis difficult and protracted. This often results in long periods (up to 1-3 years) of untreated psychosis during which the disease severity increases before appropriate therapeutics are prescribed to schizophrenia patients. It is worth noting that, where early treatment has been possible, it is associated with greatly improved patient outcomes.