Blood Test for Teen Depression Under Study
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2012 Apr 19
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.