Similar presenting symptoms make it difficult to distinguish between Bipolar Disorder (BD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) leading nearly 70 percent of patients to be misdiagnosed initially. Incorrect diagnoses results in delays in appropriate treatment and increased costs to the healthcare system. Adolescents experience higher choline levels in the anterior cingulate cortex when suffering from MDD than BD. Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) provides information regarding the biochemistry of specific regions in the brain.
A novel algorithm, developed by researchers at the University of Utah, processes spectroscopic data to provide total choline levels, which can then differentiate between the two diseases. Additional scans can be used to assess efficacy of prescribed treatments for both diseases by comparing current choline levels to the patient’s initial scan and levels of healthy patients.