A blood test for schizophrenia has been developed that could provide a means of diagnosing the condition before disabling symptoms occur. At present, diagnosis is based on psychiatric and observational assessment alone but the blood test, developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, could provide an insight into the biological basis of the disease.

Previous research has already linked schizophrenia with increased levels of dopamine, and post-mortem results suggest that patients with the condition have a larger than normal number of dopamine receptors in their brain cells. But measuring these receptors in the brain with a high level of precision is virtually impossible to do. To overcome this problem, Sara Fuchs and her team developed a diagnostic test to analyse the patient's white blood cells for signs of D3 dopamine receptors.

The test focuses on the D3 messenger RNA molecules. Statistical analysis showed that...

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