Screening for depression might soon be as easy as a blood test via The Huffington Post.
A new test that identifies particular molecules in the blood could help doctors diagnose patients with clinical depression, according to a new study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. The blood test can also predict which therapies would be most successful for patients, and lays the groundwork for one day identifying people who are especially vulnerable to depression — even before they’ve gone through a depressive episode.
But perhaps just as important, said lead investigator Eva Redei, Ph.D., is the potential the test has for taking some of the stigma out of a depression diagnosis. When depression can be confirmed with a blood test like any other physical ailment, she said, there’s less stigma about having the disease and getting treatment.
I really believe that having an objective diagnosis will decrease stigma,” Redei, a neuroscientist and professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told The Huffington Post. “Once you have numbers in your hand, you can identify that [depression] is an illness — not a matter of will.”
The most effective way to treat depression is to treat it early, but past studies show that it takes an average of two to 40 months to diagnose depression — if it gets diagnosed at all. Redei’s depression blood test could lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses, thereby transforming the way depression is treated.