Developing a clinical decision tool based on electroretinogram to monitor the risk of severe mental illness

BMC PsychiatryScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | November 22, 2022



There are currently two instruments which are used to identify individuals at high risk for severe mental illness, both of which are largely based on patient reports rather than objective data: Comprehensive Assessment of at-Risk Mental States; and Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes.

As a result, the undiagnosed and misdiagnosed rates are unacceptably high. The current study demonstrated the feasibility and accuracy of an ERG in identifying patients at high risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Three hundred one patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and 200 healthy controls underwent electroretinography. The ability of an ERG to discriminate between severe mental illness and healthy controls was determined.

ERG was shown to have a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 89% for discriminating between severe mental illness and healthy controls.