Researchers Develop Blood Test for Anxiety

Researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine have successfully developed a blood test for anxiety. The test examines biomarkers that can help them objectively determine someone’s risk for developing anxiety, the severity of their current anxiety and which therapies would likely treat their anxiety the best.

“Many people are suffering from anxiety, which can be very disabling and interfere with daily life,” said professor of psychiatry Alexander Niculescu, MD, PhD. “The current approach is to talk to people about how they feel to see if they could be on medications, but some medications can be addictive and create more problems. We wanted to see if our approach to identify blood biomarkers could help us match people to existing medications that will work better and could be a non-addictive choice.”

By examining the RNA biomarkers in the blood, researchers could identify a patient’s current state of anxiety and match them with medications and nutraceuticals, showing how effective different options could be for them based on their biology.

“In addition to medications, there are other methods to treat anxiety, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or lifestyle changes,” Niculescu said. “But having something objective like this where we can know what someone’s current state is as well as their future risk and what treatment options match their profile is very powerful in helping people.”

“There are people who have anxiety and it is not properly diagnosed, then they have panic attacks, but think they’re having a heart attack and up in the ER with all sorts of physical symptoms,” Niculescu said. “If we can know that earlier, then we can hopefully avoid this pain and suffering and treat them earlier with something that matches their profile.”

Niculescu said this new test could also be used in combination with the other blood tests his research has led to, providing a more comprehensive view of a patient’s mental health and risk of future mental health concerns. Researchers can also use the test to develop new treatments for anxiety that are more targeted to individual biomarkers.


K. Roseberry, H. Le-Niculescu, D. F. Levey, R. Bhagar, K. Soe, J. Rogers, S. Palkowitz, N. Pina, W. A. Anastasiadis, S. S. Gill, S. M. Kurian, A. Shekhar, A. B. Niculescu. Towards precision medicine for anxiety disorders: objective assessment, risk prediction, pharmacogenomics, and repurposed drugs. Molecular Psychiatry, 2023; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-023-01998-0

Indiana University School of Medicine. “Researchers develop blood test for anxiety.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2023. <>.

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