A blood test has been developed that could diagnose depression in adults as well as predict those at risk of the condition.
Researchers at Northwestern University in the US have developed a blood test that can identify specific markers that are linked to the illness. The test could be the first blood-based laboratory test for diagnosing depression.
The test, which measures the levels of nine specific RNA (ribonucleic acid) blood markers can also predict those at risk of depression.
The research included the testing of 32 patients, aged between 21 and 79, with previous depression diagnosis as well as testing 32 non-depressed patients.
After receiving 18 weeks of therapy, the patients were assessed through clinical interviews and their blood was tested again to see if there was any change in the levels of the markers.
Researchers found that they were able to differentiate between patients who had responded positively to the therapy and those patients who were still depressed by looking at the levels of certain markers.
Currently, the method for diagnosing depression has been based on symptoms such as mood changes, fatigue and other non-specific symptoms.
Depression affects about 6.7% of U.S adults each year with women being 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.