A study has been developed to test for depression in teenagers through a blood test. Teenage years are the best time to detect depression. According to researchers, rates of depression disorders jump from 2 to 4 percent in pre-adolescent kids to 10 to 20 percent by late adolescence.
The new blood test was developed by a scientist at Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago and the main goal is to replace the current method of diagnosing depression. With the new testing, researchers believe they can also recognize different types of depression. Doing so can help doctors give more personalized treatments. “I think it would be more accurate to diagnose depression with a blood test,” said Dr. Eva Redei. “The hope is that not only can these tests identify who is depressed, but they also potentially discriminate between different types of depression.”
Study author Dr. Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a written statement, “Right now depression is treated with a blunt instrument. It’s like treating type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes exactly the same way. We need to do better. This is the generation, the age group that needs the most help.”
Dr. Eva Redei’s team of researchers took a look at 14 teenagers with untreated depression and 14 non-depressed teens, in the Chicago area, between 15 and 19 years old. The researchers then ran the experimental blood test looking for 26 genetic markers that was identified earlier in rat studies. Upon comparing depressed teens with non-depressed ones, the researchers distinguished 11 genes that may be linked to depression.
Dr. Eva Redei said in the statement, “These 11 genes are probably the tip of the iceberg because depression is a complex illness. But it’s an entree into a much bigger phenomenon that has to be explored. It clearly indicates we can diagnose from blood and create a blood diagnosis test for depression.”