advertisement
Home » News » Blood Test for Depression?

Blood Test for Depression?

Blood Test for Depression? In a new proof of principle study, European scientists say they have demonstrated that depression can be detected by a blood test.

While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, researchers at the MedUni Vienna say the technique may be in place in the not too distant future.

Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and pharmacological investigations to monitor and predict levels of serotonin.

Scientists have known that serotonin transporter (SERT) is a protein in the cell membrane that facilitates the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin into the cell.

In the brain, serotonin transporter regulates neural depression networks.

Depressive conditions can frequently be caused by a lack of serotonin. As a result, the serotonin transporter is also the point of action for the major antidepressant drugs.

The serotonin transporter, however, also occurs in large quantities in numerous other organs such as the intestines or blood.

Recent studies have shown that the serotonin transporter in the blood works in exactly the same way as in the brain.

In the blood, it ensures that blood platelets maintain the appropriate concentration of serotonin in the blood plasma.

During the study, researchers used functional imaging of the brain and pharmacological analysis to demonstrate that there is a close relationship between the speed of the serotonin uptake in blood platelets and the function of a depression network in the brain.

This network is termed the “default mode network” because it is primarily active at rest and processes content with strong self-reference.

Findings from recent years have also demonstrated that it is actively suppressed during complex thought processes, which is essential for adequate levels of concentration.

Interestingly, patients with depression find it difficult to suppress this network during thought processes, leading to negative thoughts and ruminations as well as poor concentration.

“This is the first study that has been able to predict the activity of a major depression network in the brain using a blood test. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, this study clearly shows that a blood test is possible in principle for diagnosing depression and could become reality in the not too distant future,” explains study leader Lukas Pezawas.

Source: MedUni Vienna

 
Lab Technician holding vial of blood photo by shutterstock.

Blood Test for Depression?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Blood Test for Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/30/blood-test-for-depression/69198.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.