A groundbreaking test by Aberdeen scientists to diagnose mental health disorders is looking for volunteers to further its clinical trials.
The simple eye-movement test can recognise abnormalities unique to specific mental illnesses. It can distinguish between patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression with more than 95% accuracy in just 30 minutes.
Now researchers are looking for people who suffer from low moods or have been prescribed a course of anti-depressants, to try and understand why some people suffer from periods of low mood.
Dr Philip Benson, senior lecturer in psychology at Aberdeen University, and Professor David St Clair, the university’s chair of mental health, came up with the test, which is being researched by a university spin-off company called Saccade Diagnostics.
Dr Benson said: “The global burden, across the whole world for mental health each year is very significant, it’s about $2.5 trillion each year that’s spent on primary healthcare, secondary healthcare, people being out of work, that sort of thing.
“Part of the problem is caused by difficulties in coming up with a reliable diagnosis soon enough to get people onto a particular treatment plan.
“Although we’re looking at eye movements, which is a behavioural test, if you think about how eye movements are produced they’re produced by the brain and how you think about the world can have a consequence on your eye movements. And it turns out that for most of the major illnesses there’s something unusual about the eye movements that seems to be unique to each illness.”
Already the study, which won the 2013 Converge Challenge and the 2013 Best Open Innovation Business award, has found that patients with schizophrenia explore images less fully than those without the condition. Tracking the eye movements of patients with depression and bipolar disorder also reveals subtle differences in eye movement, which can give clinicians a more accurate diagnosis.
Saccade Diagnostics are looking for volunteers to help them carry out further research on this test.
Volunteers should be aged 18-60 and experience low moods or be prescribed a course of anti-depressants.
The 30-minute test will take place in the research facility at the Cornhill hospital campus in Aberdeen, with reasonable travel expenses being reimbursed.
For more information contact Eva Nouzova on 01224 557963 or 07864921272, or online at email@example.com