Biomarkers

November 12, 2012

Biomarkers

Biomarkers are used extensively in medicine to help determine health problems and come to an acceptable diagnosis or treatment plan for all kinds of things. They are used in neurology and cardiology extensively among other things such as the tracking of cancers. The term generally refers to proteins found in blood that mark the presence or the extent of a disease or illness by how concentrated that protein is. It can also be something that is introduced to the human system in order to trace things like heart disease and how your body reacts to the chemical that has been introduced.

Biomarkers have provided an invaluable amount of information when studied with relation to neurological disorders and observed during clinical trials. It has been found that they are helpful at all stages of a disease and aid in classifying the disease alongside various risk factors. They work by altering things within the human cells or tissues and include anything that can be measured from a biological perspective. Biomarkers can include anything that helps health professionals understand a disease and the treatment of it, and how the treatment is affecting the disease. They can also help to understand what has caused the disease in the first place.

Biomarkers used in studying the nervous system can include taking blood or other bodily fluid, or even scans and images of the human body and applying measurements to them to track changes that have occurred. The need for them has developed because physicians and specialists need to have a form of measurement that tracks the causes of the disease and gains information as to how it is progressing without having to worry about bias. By having biomarkers applied regularly throughout the course of a disease like cancer or something affecting the nervous system, health professionals are able to track the response of the disease to treatments, and are provided with information that can help them greatly as they make decisions as to what treatment should be applied next.

In the case of neurological diseases, biomarkers can help to classify them according the clinical criteria that define the disease and can provide further information as to what the disease pathogenesis actually is from both a clinical and an epidemiological perspective. They can also be an accurate way to measure the risk factors that are connected to a disease, as they measure the level of exposure rather than the history of potential exposure. This means that the chance of misclassification is reduced significantly and a much more specific result is achieved.

Biomarkers are also an excellent medical tool in that they are capable of measuring each individual person’s susceptibility to a certain disease or illness, whether neurological or otherwise. This is based less on the family history and more in the biological make-up of a person’s genotype.

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