A new study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry demonstrates that a blood test can make the distinction between teens who are depressed versus those who are not. By diagnosing a person with depression using objective data, scientists hope to identify it as reliably as cancer or diabetes are diagnosed.  “Once you have a measurable index of an illness, it’s very difficult to say, ‘Just pull yourself together,’ or ‘Get over it,’ ” said lead researcher Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral studies at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.  Researchers hope testing for depression will eliminate the stigma that often stops people from seeking medical help. Close to two-thirds of the country’s 2 million depressed teens are too ashamed or embarrassed to get help according to a federal report released last year. Additionally, being able to diagnose depression in adolescents can significantly improve the likelihood of long-term positive results. Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a UCLA psychiatrist sees the results as promising.  “Depression early in life can make repeat episodes more likely, and as a result, more urgent to treat.”

The researchers added that they plan on testing adults for depression in the future.     Chicago Tribune   4/18/12   Melissa Healy

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