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Diagnosing depression with a blood test

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I am the last person you'd expect to get excited over the prospects of some day being able to diagnose depression with a blood test. I have a mild case of hemophobia and the mere idea of having my blood siphoned makes me queasy, and once led to a fainting spell.

I also know that blood tests are important. So I can imagine how valuable it would be if a blood test could determine if a patient suffered from depression. Such a test is still in development, but a team of Dutch scientists believe they are making progress, according to findings published in Biological Psychiatry.

Science Daily reports:

Researchers evaluated blood gene expression profiles in healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or MDD. They identified a set of seven genes in whole blood that was able to distinguish un-medicated MDD patients from healthy controls.

Although psychiatry already has specific criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders, researchers hope this type of test would help physicians talk to patients about depression and potentially help in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.

Personally, I think it's pretty amazing that physiological test could yield answers, and possibly guide treatment, for a condition such as depression. Maybe, one day, a blood test will help me get over my phobia of blood.

Photo Neeta Lind

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