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There is now a blood test to diagnose major depression in teens. This breakthrough approach creates an objective diagnosis by measuring a specific set of genetic markers in the teen’s blood.
Currently, a teen goes to a health care provider – psychiatrist or psychologist – and receives a subjective diagnosis. This is filled with interpretations, albeit trained ones, of what a patient remembers, how he or she relates symptoms and reactions and the physician’s own ability to interpret that information.
Teens in particular represent a real urgency. An impulsive teen in trouble could harm himself or others. They are highly vulnerable to depression and extremely difficult to accurately diagnose because of the normal mood changes teens endure.
This test also identifies subtypes of depression distinguishing between teens with major depression and those with depression and anxiety disorders. It’s now possible to find these things in blood.
“Right now depression is treated with a blunt instrument,” said Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead investigator. “It’s like treating type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes exactly the same way. We need to do better for these kids.”
“This is the first significant step for us to understand which treatment will be most effective for an individual patient,” explained Redei. “Without an objective diagnosis, it’s very difficult to make that assessment. The early diagnosis and specific classification of early major depression could lead to a larger repertoire of more effective treatments and enhanced individualized care.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Translational Psychiatry
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