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TOPIC: Biomarker for Depression Could Improve Diagnosis

Biomarker for Depression Could Improve Diagnosis 25 Feb 2014 17:10 #309

Biomarker for depression could improve diagnosis and treatment
Posted February 14, 2014

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identified the first biomarker for major, or clinical, depression. This ‘biological signpost’ could mean boys at greatest risk of depression are treated earlier.

Clinical depression affects one in six people at some point in their lives. Until now, however, doctors have lacked a biomarker for clinical depression, partly because its causes and symptoms are so varied.

According to Professor Ian Goodyer of the University’s Department of Psychiatry who led the study: “Through our research, we now have a very real way of identifying those teenage boys most likely to develop clinical depression. This will help us strategically target preventions and interventions at these individuals and hopefully help reduce their risk of serious episodes of depression and their consequences in adult life.”

The researchers collected spit samples from hundreds of teenagers and measured levels of cortisol in the saliva, as well as self-reported information on symptoms of depression. This they used to divide the teenagers into one of four groups depending on their cortisol levels and symptoms of depression.

After following the group for 12 to 36 months, they were then able to work out which group was most likely to develop clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders.

They found boys with high levels of cortisol and depressive symptoms were 14 times more likely to develop clinical depression than those with neither. In girls, however, this difference was less marked. Girls with high cortisol and depressive symptoms were four times more likely to develop clinical depression than those with neither, suggesting gender differences in how depression develops.


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Last Edit: 23 Jul 2015 23:10 by michael.bailey.
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