It sounds like science fiction, but doctors may be able to diagnose depression in the future by simply checking a blood test. A study shows that it is possible to detect genetic markers of major depression in the blood, which could facilitate early diagnosis of the disorder. This would help treat teen depression, which is often difficult to diagnose.
Researchers made blood tests to 28 subjects between 15 and 19 years old, half diagnosed with major depressive disorder and half without it. They looked for a set of 26 genetic markers linked to depression, finding 11 of them in the teenagers with depression, while none in the others.
‘This is really the beginning,’ says Professor Eva Redei, co-author of the study and medical researcher at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. ‘The fact that we were able to diagnose depression in this small study is very promising.’
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Pajer, K., Andrus, B., Gardner, W., Lourie, A., Strange, B., Campo, J., Bridge, J., Blizinsky, K., Dennis, K., Vedell, P., Churchill, G., & Redei, E. (2012). Discovery of blood transcriptomic markers for depression in animal models and pilot validation in subjects with early-onset major depression Translational Psychiatry, 2 (4) DOI: 10.1038/tp.2012.26