Scientists develop blood test to detect depression

Vienna (ISJ): A recent study by medical researchers of University of Vienna unveiled the possibility of detecting depression through blood test.

Depression is often traced to lack of serotonin transporter (SERT), popularly known as ?happiness hormone?. SERT in the brain regulates neuronal depression network. Depressed mood can be neurochemically traced back to lack of serotonin. It is also found in large quantities in many organs like bowel or blood. Serotonin transporter also serves as a point of attack for major anti-depressants.

Recent studies by researchers of Medical University of Vienna have demonstrated serotonin in the blood works the same way as in the brain. Researchers through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and pharmacological studies found a strong correlation between serotonin uptake velocity of platelets and function of a network called ?Default Mode Network? in the brain for depression. This network is active in peace and processed content with strong self-reference. Recent studies also indicate, it is actively supressed during complex thinking tasks, which is essential for sufficient concentration of power. Interestingly, it is difficult for depressed patients to suppress this network in thought processes, which leads to negative thoughts and rumination, as well as poor concentration power.

"This is the first study that could predict the activity of a major depression network in the brain by a blood test. While blood tests for mental illness were held until recently thought impossible, this study clearly shows that a blood test for the diagnosis of depression in principle possible and within their reach," said study leader Luke Pezawas of the Department of Biological Psychiatry, University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy the Medical University of Vienna.

This result of the study, involving several institutions under the Medical University of Vienna and international partners, shows a depression diagnosis by blood loss is well within the reach.

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