Scientists have developed a blood test that one day may help diagnose major depression in teens and young adults.
The test is in very early stages. However, scientists hope it will someday make diagnosing depression more objective for teens.
"The bottom line is that a test is possible from blood that can differentiate teens with major depression from those who do not have it," says scientist Eva Redei, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Major depression affects about 1% of children under age 12, Redei says. By late teens and young adulthood, that figure rises to about 25%.
Currently, doctors diagnose depression by asking about symptoms. In developing the blood test, Redei's team focused on blood biomarkers, or indicators, for depression and anxiety. These indicators reflect the activity of genes related to depression. The blood test is very preliminary and not ready for clinical use.
The findings are published in Transitional Psychiatry.
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