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First blood test to diagnose major depression in teens

Posted: April 17, 2012 |   Comments

Rather teaching nutritional responsibility, now drug companies will be able to get even more of the population on medication, sooner.
Breakthrough test identifies depression and its subtypes with promise of individualized treatment.

CHICAGO --- A Northwestern Medicine scientist has developed the
first blood test to diagnose major depression in teens, a breakthrough
approach that allows an objective diagnosis by measuring a specific set
of genetic markers found in a patient's blood.

The current method of diagnosing depression is subjective. It relies
on the patient's ability to recount his symptoms and the physician's
ability and training to interpret them.

Diagnosing teens is an urgent concern because they are highly
vulnerable to depression and difficult to accurately diagnose due to
normal mood changes during this age period.

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.
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