Blood Test to Determine Depression

Mar 14, 2008
Scientists developed a way to diagnose depression quickly and determine if antidepressants are efficient with a help of blood test.

Mark Rasenick and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine conducted a study, including 16 people diagnosed with depression who committed suicide and compared the results with the brains of dead people who did not had any psychiatric disorders.

The findings showed that aprotein Gs alpha trapped in the part of brain cells called lipid rafts can imply that a person has depression. These rafts that look like thick and adhesive areas may either make it easier or more difficult for membrane molecules to communicate. The proteins in the brain cells trapped in rafts impede neurotransmitters.

Antidepressants used in depression treatment are aimed to free those proteins from rafts thus activating neurotransmitters.

Rasenick said that a blood test that can be developed to keep track of the effectiveness of the treatment and find out about a change in four or five days. Usually, it takes around a month for antidepressants to start working, but the simple blood test may give everyone a chance to determine if the treatment was effective or something should be changed.

Depression affects approximately around 10% of the population in any given one-year period. Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. Many people suffering from depression do not seek for treatment.