Blood Tests Help Diagnose Teen Depression
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Northwestern University researchers say they found depression indicators in blood tests of teens.


(Image source: TIME )   BY CHRISTINE KARSTEN ANCHOR MEGAN MURPHY   A stick of a needle — soon that could be all it takes to diagnose depression in teens. KOVR reports what researchers at Northwestern University found when taking teens blood.   “Researchers at Northwestern University developed that test, it helps identify genetic biomarkers linked to depression. In a small study of 28 teenagers, the test accurately identified patients suffering from depression.”   These researchers studied depression in rats before looking at humans. By studying rats with genetic and environmental predispositions for depression, researchers were able to pinpoint 26 markers of major depression they could use when examining teens.   WebMD reports.   “They tested these indicators in 14 teens with major depression who had not been treated and 14 teens who were not depressed...They found that 11 of the indicators were linked to depression, and 18 were linked to anxiety as well as depression.”   This blood test did more then help researchers find depression indicators in teens’ blood — It’s also the first test to identify subtypes of depression.   Health Canal reports.   “It distinguished between teens with major depression and those with major depression combined with anxiety disorder. This is the first evidence that it’s possible to diagnose subtypes of depression from blood, raising the hope for tailoring care to the different types.”     But not all doctors are completely sold on the study. TIME quoted a child-and-adolescent psychiatrist who stresses that it’s still too early to consider this “problem solved”...   “‘Taking something from an animal model and saying it means something in people is making a big leap’...’A finding among 14 is not the same as saying something is present in 1,000 people.’”   And she’s not the only one. ABC News spoke with a New York University Langone Medical Center psychiatry professor saying...   “...biologic testing doesn't get at the complex interactions of genes, biology and environment involved in depression. ‘I think people are looking for a magic bullet, a single answer. But these disorders are much too complicated,’...’But certainly the more tools we have the better.’”   Fox News says the next step is extending this study to a wider patient population and determining if the test can accurately diagnose depression in adults.