Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A blood test for depression?

Date:
July 23, 2010
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Blood tests have been extremely important tools aiding doctors in making medical diagnoses and in guiding the treatment of many diseases. However, psychiatry is one area of medicine where there are few diagnostic blood tests. Dutch researchers evaluated blood gene expression profiles in healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or MDD. They identified a set of seven genes in whole blood that was able to distinguish un-medicated MDD patients from healthy controls.

Blood tests have been extremely important tools aiding doctors in making medical diagnoses and in guiding the treatment of many diseases. However, psychiatry is one area of medicine where there are few diagnostic blood tests.

New scientific fields may someday generate blood tests that can be used for these purposes. Some of the areas under increasingly intensive study are genetics, the study of variations in the genes (DNA) that can be extracted from blood cells, and genomics like proteomics, the measurement of the levels of specific proteins in the blood, and gene expression profiling, which measures the levels of RNA produced from DNA as an indication of the level of the "activity" of particular genes.

Using the latter approach, Dutch researchers evaluated blood gene expression profiles in healthy individuals and patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or MDD. They identified a set of seven genes in whole blood that was able to distinguish un-medicated MDD patients from healthy controls.

"This is a first, but major step in providing a molecular diagnostic tool for depression," explained Dr. Sabine Spijker, corresponding author of this study. Although psychiatry already has specific criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders, this type of diagnosis would be unbiased and particularly valuable for those with whom it is more difficult to have a conversation. It may also eventually assist in reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.

"It is far too early to be confident that gene expression profiling will lead us to diagnostic or prognostic tests for depression. However, the objective of this line of research is extremely important," cautions Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "In the past, many types of tests have been explored as potential diagnostic markers, but they all have failed to have sufficient sensitivity and specificity to guide doctors in making psychiatric diagnoses or choosing between treatments. I look forward to seeing whether the patterns of gene expression profiling are replicable and diagnostically specific as multiple groups report their findings."

Most importantly, the authors hope that this study is a stepping stone for finding markers that might predict treatment outcome and recurrence.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sabine Spijker, Jeroen S. Van Zanten, Simone De Jong, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Richard van Dyck, Frans G. Zitman, Jan H. Smit, Bauke Ylstra, August B. Smit, Witte J.G. Hoogendijk. Stimulated Gene Expression Profiles as a Blood Marker of Major Depressive Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 68 (2): 179 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.03.017

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "A blood test for depression?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722092330.htm>.
Elsevier. (2010, July 23). A blood test for depression?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722092330.htm
Elsevier. "A blood test for depression?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722092330.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins