The Atlantic recently reported on a Journal article published in Molecular Psychiatry (Assessment of a Multi-Assay, Serum-Based Biological Diagnostic Test for Major Depressive disorder: a Pilot and Replication Study) that explains a new technique to diagnose depression from blood samples using nine biological markers. In the original study and the replication study, it appears to positively identify most of the individuals with classic symptoms of depression. The only problematic issue remains its high false positive rate (18 out of 43–almost 19%– of the control group were falsely identified as being depressed). This will need to be refined for the test to be truly useful.
Some people may ask about the value of the blood test, after all, don’t most people know they are depressed? Actually, a number of people report physical symptoms–such as sleep disturbances and fatigue– to their physicians that are actually a result of depression. If a physician could order a blood test for depression at the same time as other blood screening tests, many people may receive appropriate treatment rather than continue to suffer the symptoms of depression with its devistating consequences.