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Nancy Schimelpfening

Lab Test for Depression?

By February 16, 2012

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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.

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February 22, 2012 at 3:56 am
(1) Tim says:

Why this article concerns me: Living in Britain, recently many of us have been made to undergo ‘ridiculous’ tests regarding sickness benefits; Yes I can tie my shoe laces and I can make a cup of tea (even though I have been known to deliberately burn myself on the kettle, that is unimportant).
Anything that can be used against those with mental health will be in the name of money saving and here is another possibility. It won’t matter that it may not be full proof or not enough research to prove conclusively; if it becomes known then the band wagon will be jumped upon.
It is a bit like the realisation that tablets can’t cure all and that talking therapies can aid. Next second every one was being shoved into CBT and expected to be made better over night

February 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm
(2) bopeep says:

I don’t appreciate the subject line “Lab test for depression?” It’s somewhat of a teaser. Why not type “No lab test for depression”? Because no one would click on it, maybe unsubscribe from this newsletter that tells you absolutely nothing useful or new and miss all the ads. This is depressing.

February 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm
(3) Susan says:

and do the percentage it doesn’t get right fall through the cracks to get treatment???

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