Blood Tests For Depression May Lead To Better Treatme

Blood Tests For Depression May Lead To Better Treatme

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Oct 1, 2013, at 9:51 pm


Depression is a major, common illness that is taking ahold of many teenagers today. Currently, the diagnosis of depression consists of asking patients to recall their symptoms. Soon, diagnosing depression may be as simple as diagnosing high cholesterol. A new study is emerging that describes a blood test developed by a scientist at Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago that can help with the diagnosis of this illness. Researchers say this new test might even have the ability to discern between specific types of depression. This will hopefully result in more personalized treatments.

“Right now depression is treated with a blunt instrument,” said Eva Redei, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and also lead investigator of the study. “it’s like treating type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes exactly the same way. We need to do better for these kids.”

From pre-adolescent kids to late adolescents, the rates of major depressive disorders leaps from 2-4% to 10-20%. If it goes untreated, the risks of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, social difficulties, physical illness and suicide have a greater chance of increasing.

To construct the study, Redei’s team looked at 28 teens, 15-19 years old 14 with untreated major depression and 14 non-depressed. They ran the experimental blood test looking for 26 genetic markers that had been identified by previous rat studies. In comparing depressed to non-depressed teenagers, the researchers distinguished 11 of the markers may be tied to depression. It is said that even though the test was run on teens, it may help adults.

The study’s inference was devalued by Dr. Alexander B. Niculescu, III, associate professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at Indiana University School of Medicine. He advised against jumping to conclusions based on such a small number of participants, saying also there may be various types of blood markers among a larger population.

Despite what skeptics say or think, Redei has high hopes for improving future diagnosis for depressed adolescents.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

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