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Researchers Develop Blood Test for Depression
Date:4/17/2012

By Carina Storrs
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a blood test that could one day help diagnose teens with depression.

To create the test, researchers identified 26 potential biological markers for depression. Then they tested the markers in a small group of teens and found that a handful of them could distinguish the teens with major depression from those without depression.

The research was published April 17 in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

"I think it would be more accurate to diagnose depression with a blood test," said study author Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The biomarkers now have to be studied in a larger group of teens, she added.

Currently the diagnosis for depression is subjective and involves doctors talking with patients about their moods. The evaluation is especially tricky in teens because this is a trying time emotionally to start with, Redei said.

Having an objective diagnosis that relies on biomarkers could also make it an easier diagnosis for teens to hear and ease some of the stigma associated with depression.

"It would bring this disease into the same family of other serious illnesses," Redei said. "It would be much more difficult for somebody to say, 'Just snap out of it' or 'Get yourself together.'"

Between 17 percent and 25 percent of adolescents and young adults experience depression, according to study background information. Teens who develop depression have a worse prognosis, marked by illness, substance abuse and suicidal behavior, compared to people who are diagnosed later in life.

The current study involved 28 white and black teens in the Chicago area. Half of the teens had depression.

The researchers compared the levels of the 26 potential biomarkers in blood samples from the teens and found that 11 of them were pre
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