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In the new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has discovered a way to diagnose depression in youth with a blood test.
The study subjects included 14 adolescents with major depression who were not being treated and 14 non-depressed youth. The ages of the subjects ranged from 15 to 19 years old.
The researchers tested the blood for 26 genetic markers identified in previous research. They found that 11 of the markers were able to differentiate between depressed and non-depressed. They also found 18 markers that differentiated between depression and depression combined with anxiety.
“These 11 genes are probably the tip of the iceberg because depression is a complex illness,” Redei explained. “But it’s an entrée 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.”
To emphasize the challenges with adolescence, Redei revealed that none of the teens who were diagnosed with depression ultimately opted for treatment.
“Everybody, including parents, are wary of treatment, and there remains a social stigma around depression, which in the peer-pressured world of teenagers is even more devastating,” Redei noted. “Once you can objectively diagnose depression as you would hypertension or diabetes, the stigma will likely disappear.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Northwestern University
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