(Megan Benedictson/ CTV News) — A new test designed by researchers with the University of Manitoba could help ensure patients suffering from debilitating mood disorders don’t end up with a treatment that makes matters worse.
The diagnostic test is simple and involves sitting in a chair with electrodes that measure electrical signals from the ear, said Brian Lithgow, U of M professor and lead researcher of a just-published study on the test.
“Those electrical signals are affected by the emotional, behavioural parts of the brain,” he said, explaining that the patterns in which the signals fire are different in patients with major depressive disorder than they are with bipolar patients. He said the test takes about an hour, instead of the years it can currently take to diagnose someone accurately.
“When a depressed person first comes to their first consultation, about 40 per cent of the bipolar are misdiagnosed as major depression,” Lithgow said, in part because people with bipolar disorder, particularly bipolar II, tend to “have many, many more depressive phases than manic phases.” (…)