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Blood Test to Reveal Depression?


In a presentation made at the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting in early May, Ridge Diagnostics described their development of what they believe to be a successful blood screening technique for clinical depression. According to the San Diego-based company, after analyzing 10 different biomarkers within a blood sample and feeding the result in a series of algorithms, a “score” can be developed regarding the likelihood of depression.

As noted in "Forbes":

“Ridge’s test amplifies that signal by bunching several markers together. The company’s scientists screened more than 100 biomarkers to select the combination of 10 for its depression test. These markers are related to systems known to be affected in depression, specifically the metabolism, immune system, nervous system, and hormones produced by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands.

Ridge CEO Lonna Williams says the company has validated the biomarker panel and its algorithm through eight studies done on several hundred patient and control samples. To date, they have shown that the blood test results correlate with diagnoses made using the mental health gold standards—the DSM-IV criteria and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale—almost 90 percent of the time.”

An indicator in the blood regarding depression, regardless of its initial effectiveness, would be huge in the battle against this mental disorder. According to Ridge, further tests will be conducted in order to more accurately gauge the possible usefulness of this exam.

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