IU Startup Works to Help Doctors ID Mental Health Issues

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An Indiana University-affiliated startup says it is working to enable precision medicine by commercializing the first objective tests for mental health issues. Indianapolis-based MindX Sciences aims to develop apps and blood tests that will help doctors assess the severity of pain and mental health issues, including suicide risk, PTSD and depression.

The startup is also working on products that would match a patient to a treatment, and then monitor the progress.

The company's mission is grounded in research by IU School of Medicine professor of psychiatry Alexander Niculescu, who the university says has identified blood biomarkers for suicide risk, depression, pain, longevity, PTSD and other indications. 

Niculescu is also founder, chairman and chief scientific officer of MindX Sciences. The company is licensing his intellectual property from the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office.

"There is no objective method to assess pain in current clinical practice," said R. Matthew Neff, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of MindX Sciences in a news release. "A doctor shows you a happy-to-sad face scale and asks you to rate your pain, and then they observe you. That's it. They can't tell the magnitude of the pain because it's a very personal, subjective experience." 

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