For the 18 million adults in the U.S. that suffer from depression, the road to finding solutions can be a long and arduous one. Before being formally diagnosed, one may have to deal with years of unsettling highs and lows, doubts and criticisms about why you just can't find your way. Even more frustrating (and troubling) is cycling through a number of medications without finding relief.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a test on the horizon that possibly may alleviate this turmoil. CBS News.com reports that researchers at Northwestern University have developed a blood test that could detect depression in adults.
The test reportedly analyzes the levels of nine RNA blood markers that are commonly associated with clinical depression. Researchers observed a pool of patients aged 32 to 79 over a period of 18 weeks and found that the test could also detect physical evidence that particular therapies were working. The researchers found that this finding was especially important given that some patients in the pool had not found success with using antidepressants.
Despite these promising results, researchers also found that the test may not be as effective for diagnosing adolescents, since the RNA markers may be different. However, it may be the gateway for personalized treatments that could move past the traditional (and boilerplate) treatment of mental illness.
The report did not identify what effect the trial findings would have on future treatments.
In the meantime, those who are receiving Social Security disability benefits due to severe depression can hold out hope that life may change.