Speed Reads

medical alert

Blood tests could diagnose depression

Diagnoses for clinical depression usually involve self-reported data from patients, but researchers at Northwestern University may have a better way to identify the disease.

Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine published a study today that found a link between gene markers and depression. The study, co-led by Eva Redei, a research professor at the school, found that some RNA markers were linked to clinical depression in teenagers.

Three of the gene markers could be used to determine if patients may be receptive to psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy to help their depression, too: Fast Company reports that the researchers found patterns among patients who responded positively to therapy.

The results were significant: 40 percent of those with depression improved their mental health after undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy, and of those who improved their health with treatment, the researchers found a correlation between three of the RNA markers. In addition, the researchers found nine RNA markers that linked the individuals who reported having clinical depression at the start of the study.

More research is needed before doctors start administering depression blood tests, though: The study only looked at 32 people with depression and 32 in a control group. Still, the findings show promise for depression treatment in the future.