Early diagnosis of clinical depression could help with better, more targeted, treatment but the symptoms of clinical depression are hard to differentiate from other physical and mental illnesses and there are currently no lab tests available. However a biomarker panel from from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine started looking at blood transcriptomic profiles in rat models of depression which shows the changes in gene sequence as well as the changes caused by the environment like stress.
The researchers used the potential biomarkers from the rat models to screen the blood of 15 to 19 year olds with untreated clinical depression or without depression. They refined the biomarker panel and were able to spot the difference between the 2 groups including those with anxiety or maltreatment. This is the first biomarker test to distinguish between the subtypes.
This is great news for those suffering from this illness and will hopefully lead to an improvement in treatment soon.
If you are involved in Biomarkers then check out the programme for Biomarkers World Europe 2012.