Although there isn't currently a laboratory test that can be used to detect depression, researchers say it may eventually become a reality.
In an attempt to design such a test, Dr. George Papakostas and his team gave 36 people with depression and 43 people without a blood test which looked at nine different biomarkers which have been associated with depression. These biomarkers appear to be an indicator of inflammation in the brain, according to Papakostas.
They found that 91% of the time the test accurately identified depression and about 81% of the time it correctly identified those without depression.
According to Papakostas, more research is needed to confirm his findings.
When asked about the cost of such a test, he indicated that it would probably be similar to other routine blood tests that are currently performed.
A test which could be used to diagnose depression would be helpful, said Papakostas, because it would help doctors who are less experienced with diagnosing depression in making a correct diagnosis. It would also help patients who might otherwise be reluctant to accept a diagnosis without some sort of outside validation.
The article appeared in a recent issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.