People with neurological and psychiatric symptoms often experience a delay in getting an accurate diagnosis. Misdiagnosis and uncertainty is common, despite all of our current best assessments and tools. We have found that neurofilament light chain in spinal fluid, a marker of brain cell injury, can help distinguish between neurological disorders and psychiatric disorders, potentially preventing 11% of patients who experienced a delay in obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Using this test could lead to earlier, accurate diagnoses for people with dementia and conditions with neuropsychiatric symptoms.
This is an important study, accumulating the evidence for biomarkers to help improve diagnosis and care.
This study was led by Dr Matthew Kang and Dr Dhamidhu Eratne. Dr Matthew Kang, supervised by Dr Dhamidhu Eratne and Prof Dennis Velakoulis, was recently awarded the Old Age Trainee Prize for Scholarly Project Prize by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists for this study.