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Translating biological parameters into clinically useful diagnostic tests

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Psychiatry has lagged behind other specialties in developing diagnostic laboratory tests for the purpose of confirming or ruling out a diagnosis. Biological research into the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders has, however, yielded some highly replicable abnormalities that have the potential for development into clinically useful diagnostic tests. To achieve this goal, a process for systematic translation must be developed and implemented. Building on our previous work, we review a proposed process using four clearly defined steps. We conclude that biological parameters currently face challenges in their pathways to becoming diagnostic tests because of both the premature release and premature abandonment of tests. Attention to a systematic translation process aided by these principles may help to avoid these problems.

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Correspondence to Cynthia L. Arfken.

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Arfken, C.L., Carney, S. & Boutros, N.N. Translating biological parameters into clinically useful diagnostic tests. Curr Psychiatry Rep 11, 320–323 (2009).

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