A blood test developed by a scientist/professor at Northwestern University can help doctors diagnose major depression in teenagers. The first of it’s kind test now brings objectivity into a realm where subjectivity once ruled. Usually, the diagnosing of major depression relies on self-report and observers’ descriptions of symptoms that match a specific diagnosis. It is then diagnosed by a doctor or trained mental health professional based on these observations and descriptions of symptoms. However, the new blood test developed by scientist Eva Redei, PhD can help separate teens who have depression from teens who don’t.
As reported in the Northwestern University NewsCenter, “The test also is the first to identify subtypes of depression. It distinguished between teens with major depression and those with major depression combined with anxiety disorder. This is the first evidence that it’s possible to diagnose subtypes of depression from blood, raising the hope for tailoring care to the different types. “ They tested fourteen teenagers who did not have depression and fourteen teenagers who had yet to be treated for major depression but met fully diagnostic criteria. The following was discover, “Redei’s lab tested the adolescents’ blood for 26 genetic blood markers she had identified in previous research. She discovered 11 of the markers were able to differentiate between depressed and non-depressed adolescents. In addition, 18 of the 26 markers distinguished between patients that had only major depression and those who had major depression combined with anxiety disorder.”
The testing was done on a small sample of teens, thus more testing must be done in order to say that this type of blood work can be applied to a broader range of depressed individuals. However, it is a step in the right direction for aiding in the objective diagnosis of depression. Once depression is properly diagnosed, it makes treatment much easier. Blood testing will most likely not replace a clinical interview by a doctor or mental health professional, but will be used in combination with the interview to provide a better picture of the diagnosis.
New Blood Test To Diagnose Depression In Teens | May Encourage Treatment
Dr. Redei projects that if individual’s can be diagnosed through blood work then they will be more apt to seek treatment. Unfortunately, there is still a social stigma behind depression so not all sufferers seek diagnosis or treatment. Dr. Redei is hoping that once depression can be diagnosed easily like diabetes or hypertension then the social stigma will dissipate, and more teens will feel comfortable seeking treatment.
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