Blood test used to diagnose depression

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KREM.com

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 29 at 3:41 PM

Depression affects 15 million Americans and impacts women twice as much as men.

Angel Schwiefert was diagnosed with major depression, a few years ago. She tried three different anti-depressants.

"We really couldn't get the dosages right or the right medications,” she said.

"I worry that these meds are thrown at folks,” said Psychiatrist Dr. James Smith.

Dr. Smith says the wide variety of symptoms means treating depression can mean a lot of trial and error.

"Piecing it all together can be a bit of a challenge,” he said.

MDD Score is the first blood test to assist in the diagnosis of depression. It ranks a person's likelihood of having the condition from one to nine. The higher the score the higher the chance of depression.

"I see it as extremely accurate,” said Dr. Smith.

In studies funded by the test maker, MDD Score was more than 90 percent accurate.

"MDD Score more than anything else has given me an opportunity to hit it right on the nose,” said Dr. Smith.

But Duke Psychiatrist Doctor Harold G. Koenig has concerns.

"False positives and false negatives, people who are diagnosed with depression with this test who don't have depression, or missing the depression potentially in someone who really has it who wouldn't get the treatment."

Angel scored high on the blood test and her doctor upped her dosage. She believes MDD Score gave her the treatment she needed.

Company officials say the test should be available nationwide by the end of the year.

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