Seventy per cent of children and young people with mental health issues don’t get the right interventions at an early enough age, according to The Children’s Society. Yet, genetic testing could help put an end to this and ensure that individuals receive the right treatment sooner.
The 4th to 10th February marks Children’s Mental Health Week 2019, with the aim to raise awareness of all aspects of children’s mental health conditions, diagnosis and treatment.
Mental health problems are a growing problem among the young, so the fact that they are not receiving the right treatment at the right time means that thousands of children and adolescents are suffering unnecessarily.
How big is the problem?
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20% of adolescents experience a mental health problem in any given year. Half of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24.
There are many effective treatments for psychiatric conditions but not every drug will suit every patient. It can take weeks or even months of trial and error for doctors to identify the most appropriate treatment and in the meantime young people can become discouraged and their symptoms may worsen.
Growing numbers of worried parents are now asking for their child to undergo genetic testing to identify the right psychiatric treatment so they can get better sooner.
Genetic testing can help young people who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition but who are not improving, as well as young people with symptoms who have not yet received a diagnosis.
Genetic testing in mental health
So, how does it work? Referred to as pharmacogenomics, this is a new branch of medicine that matches drug treatment to the individual’s unique genetic code.
Myogenes is a leader in pharmacogenomics and we offer a specific test for patients with mental health conditions, called Genecept Assay.
The aim of this test is to eliminate the trial and error approach to prescribing medication in favour of a personalised treatment plan based on patient-specific genetic markers.
How it works
The test is quick and simple. The doctor takes a swab from the patient’s cheek and sends this away to the laboratory to be tested. The test works by identifying variations in two genes that are relevant to psychiatric conditions.
By analysing this information, scientists can predict what effect a particular drug will have on the patient’s body and identify the optimum dosage for safe and effective treatment.
A report is sent from the laboratory to the consultant or psychiatrist so they can develop a personalised treatment plan for that particular patient. A consultation between the laboratory and clinician provides expert advice to the clinician for each patient’s individual results.
Research shows that 87% of patients who underwent genetic testing showed a clinically measurable improvement.
Ninety one per cent of patients who had previously failed at least two medications, and may have been labeled “treatment resistant” showed an improvement.
Conditions can Genecept Assay be used for
Genetic testing can be effective for a range of psychiatric conditions including:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Substance abuse
Speak to your GP about Genecept Assay testing or contact the team at Myogenes for more information.