31 July 2014

Could there be links between our immune systems and psychosis?

A potentially ground-breaking national health research study in to psychosis is looking for further participants across the AWP region.

The PPiP (Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis) study is aiming to understand whether cases of psychosis are triggered by problems in some people's immune system. Usually the immune system controls our ability to fight infection, which can lead to an 'autoimmune' disease. The PPiP study wants to find out how many people are first experiencing psychosis as a result of an autoimmune response in the body.

In a smaller pilot study it was found that approximately 5% of people presenting with psychosis also had a marker in their blood related to an autoimmune response. These people were treated with a combination of steroids and fluids directly in to the bloodstream that led to significant recovery in a number of cases. This study is looking to see how often this blood marker is found. This may have an impact on future tests for people entering the health services with psychosis and could lead to new treatment options.

Referrals are sought from clinicians working with people aged between 14 and 35 with a primary diagnosis of psychosis. Crucially the person referred needs to have had less than 6 weeks of antipsychotic treatment as this interferes with the effectiveness of the blood tests. Those who choose to take part will give a blood sample and complete some routine clinical assessments with researchers. Those taking part are reimbursed £10 for their time.

If you have possible referrals, or you are a service user who wishes to get involved, then please get in touch with Adam Deuchars of the Clinical Research Network on 0117 331 3361 or 07975 632 785 or via email on adam.deuchars@nhs.net who will be delighted to hear from you.

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