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Saliva Sleuths: Spotting Mental Illness In Your Spit

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SEWELL, N.J. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - It's believed one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Patients can spend years trying to find the right drug cocktail to keep their symptoms at bay, while suffering serious side effects. Now, a unique test could help change that.

For Virginia von Rhine; art is like a meditation.

"The chatter, the duh duh there 24/7, the chatter goes away because I'm so focused," Virginia von Rhine old Ivanhoe.

It's the only thing that's brought this antique dealer peace. She's suffered with major depressive disorder and anxiety since the second grade.

"Forever trying, trying, trying to find the happy pill," said Virginia von Rhine.

Clinical depression affects nearly 15-million Americans, with two-thirds of patients failing to adequately respond to a first line of anti-depressants and 30 to 40-percent of patients still trying to find relief after three more interventions.

"And that's a huge number of individuals in our country," Laura G. Leahy, M.S.N, P.M.H-C.N.S/F.N.P Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at the APNSolutions, LLC in Sewell, N.J., told Ivanhoe.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner Laura Leahy said a new genetic test could help.

"I refer to it as a spit test for my patients," said Leahy.

The Genecept Assay test uses a patient's saliva to look for genetic biomarkers associated with depression, helping doctors predict which anti-depressants are most likely to work.

"And say, yes you are an ultrarapid metabolizer and that is why you are more likely to have significant negative side effects, not respond to such and such medication," explained Leahy.

For Virginia, the test helped doctors put her on a new course of treatment.

"I didn't have it for all those years, but I have it now," stated Virginia von Rhine.

And much like her new tattoo, she now feels like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

"I look at it and I, I know, you know, that I'm a new creature," said Virginia von Rhine.

The test can be used for patients with a range of difficult to treat psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, OCD, and ADHD. Trials are currently underway for the test.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

BACKGROUND: A mental illness or mental disorder is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. (SOURCE: www.nami.org)

 WHAT CAUSES MENTAL ILLNESS?: There are many factors, a person's genes or family history may play a role. Life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, may also matter. Biological factors can also be part of the cause. A traumatic brain injury can lead to a mental disorder. A mother's exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant may play a part. Other factors may increase a person's risk, such as use of illegal drugs or having a serious medical condition like cancer. (SOURCE: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mentaldisorders.)

 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Mental illnesses are very common. In fact, they are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 25 percent of American adults (those ages 18 and older) and about 13 percent of American children (those ages 8 to 15) are diagnosed with a mental disorder during a given year. (SOURCE: www.medicinenet.com)

TREATMENT: A mental illness, like many chronic illnesses, requires ongoing treatment. Many mental conditions can be effectively treated with one or a combination of the following therapies:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Day treatment or partial hospital treatment
  • Specific therapies, such as cognitive-behavior therapy and behavior modification
  • (SOURCE: www.medicinenet.com)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Laura G Leahy, MSN, PMH-CNS/FNP
APNSolutions, LLC
123 Egg Harbor Road, Suite 703 Tower Commons
Sewell, NJ. 08080
lgleahy@APNSolutions.com
www.APNSolutions.com

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