Can Lab Tests Detect Depression
In general, lab tests are used to rule out other conditions that may present similarly to depression, rather than detecting depression itself. For example, certain thyroid disorders and vitamin D deficiency share some of the same symptoms as depression and can be detected through testing.
Recent studies, however, suggest that blood tests may be useful in diagnosing depression.
In a recent study, researchers built upon previous work that examined levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor , a protein in the blood that influences memory and learning, in people with certain mood disorders.
Lower levels of mature BDNF were found in participants with depression and bipolar disorder. In addition, it was found that in some cases, mBDNF levels were lower for those reporting severe symptoms than those reporting more moderate symptoms.
While current blood tests cant conclusively use low mBDNF levels to diagnose depression, it provides a strong direction for further research.
Another study also suggests that blood tests may be the future of depression detection.
Instead of BDNF levels, this study focused on how low levels of an enzyme called ethanolamine phosphate may be linked to major depressive disorder in adults. Results showed that phosphate level blood tests were able to correctly diagnose depression 82% of the time.
Working with medical and mental health professionals can help provide you with a more accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs.
Future Lab Tests For Depression
While they are not yet in common use by most health care providers, in the realm of psychological research there is much interest in the potential of biomarkers to help diagnose depression and other psychiatric conditions.
There are many factors that determine whether someone develops depression in their lifetime, including genetics and environment.
Research also continues to show how the brain and the body are inextricably connected the health of one influences the health of the other.
Some studies have been looking for a potential connection between levels of inflammation in the body and depression. Others are investigating how the gut microbiome might influence mental health.
A study published in 2013 explored the possibility of a connection between elevated cortisol levels in young adults and depression. In 2015, a study at UC San Diego proposed changes in a specific gene linked to the X chromosome may contribute to mental illness in women.
One day, we may be able to screen a persons genetic information, measure the levels of inflammatory markers in their blood, and look for changes in the structure of their brain to determine their risk for depression, diagnose the condition, and find the most effective treatmentbut were not there yet.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
What Tests Results Mean
When the results of your blood work come back, there may be a clear next step for you to take. For example, if you have low levels of vitamin B12, your doctor may recommend you start taking a vitamin supplement or receive injections.
If you are diagnosed with a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or diabetes, you may find your depression symptoms start to get better as soon as you begin treatment for the underlying condition. They may even resolve once the condition is managed.
When blood tests indicate you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle changes. You may find that adjusting your diet and getting regular exercise help ease your depression symptoms, too.
The results of these lab tests for depression may prompt your doctor to ask you about your alcohol and drug use as well. If you are using substances or dealing with addiction, it’s crucial that you are honest with your doctor. Getting support and treatment for addiction is part of addressing depression.
For your safety, as well as the efficacy of treatment, your doctor needs to know if you are using drugs or alcohol, as it may influence the medications they prescribe.
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What Is Bipolar Disorder Test
To diagnose bipolar disorder, the first step is for a doctor to conduct an examination. Before making this diagnosis, doctors get more accurate information. This is on whats causing your symptoms and indications by eliminating other diseases with similar indicators before doing so.
The patients health status may be critical in diagnosing Bipolar Disorder, as stated in this passage. Because those illnesses affect many regions at the same time. One condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure might only appear in some parts of our bodies. The other will continue to suffer without appropriate therapy. This is due to the fact that these problems affect numerous areas simultaneously.
Scientists Can Now Diagnose Depression With A Blood Test
Despite the fact that mental illness is quite common, its still heavily stigmatized across cultures and sometimes even challenging to diagnose and treat. Even if you are lucky enough to have good behavioral health care, your doctor has to combine their subjective observations with your self-reported symptoms in order to figure out whats ailing you. In that way, mental health diagnosis is just not an exact science. Luckily, these scientists are trying to change that by developing a blood test to diagnose depression and bipolar disorders. This is huge, since being able to prove that depression is real will reduce some of the stigma attached to mental illness so that those who are struggling can get the care they need.
According to a report released today in Molecular Psychiatry, scientists at Indiana University School of Medicine have created a blood test that can measure whether a person is at higher risk for developing severe depression or bipolar disorder a.k.a. manic-depression, EurekAlert reported. The research took place over the course of four years and followed the treatment of over 300 individuals. While thats a modest sized study, its a significant one given the time span.
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Creatinine And Blood Urea Nitrogen
Creatinine and BUN levels reflect how well the kidneys are working. Not only can kidney disease lead to symptoms similar to depression, but its also important for doctors to know if kidney function is impaired before prescribing an antidepressant. When the kidneys arent working well, they may not be able to metabolize certain medications properly.
Treatment Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness. You cannot cure it but manage it with different methods. A person with bipolar disorder can lead a fulfilling, healthy, and productive life. There are several treatments for controlling the bipolar disorder. Medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, or a combination of the two are some of the ways to treat bipolar disorder.
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How To Lower Uric Acid Naturally
You could take a medicine that lowers uric acid levels, but the way to get to the root of the problem, without co-pays or side effects, is by changing your diet.
The single most powerful trigger for high insulin levels is refined carbohydraterapidly-digestible simple sugars and starches like flours, fruit juice, processed cereal products, and sugars. Avoiding these modern ingredients is a logical and healthy first step that makes sense for all of us, whether we have depression or not. However, if your metabolism is more badly damaged, simply avoiding refined carbohydrates may not be enough. You may want to consider a low-carbohydrate diet that also limits whole food sources of carbohydrates . Other strategies that can help lower insulin levels and improve insulin resistance include very low-calorie diets, intermittent fasting, and strength training.
There are no studies yet demonstrating that lowering insulin levels reduces risk for bipolar disorder, but there are plenty of studies demonstrating that lowering insulin levels, eating a healthier diet, and getting some exercise improves your overall physical and mental health, so what have you got to lose?
Can Brain Scans Or Imaging Tests Help With The Bipolar Diagnosis
While doctors donât rely on brain scans or imaging tests for making a bipolar diagnosis, some high-tech neuroimaging tests may help doctors make specific neurologic diagnoses that can account for psychiatric symptoms. An MRI or CT scan is therefore sometimes ordered in patients who have had a sudden change in thinking, mood, or behavior to assure that a neurological disease is not the underlying cause.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, studies are underway to examine whether electroencephalograms and magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brain can reveal differences between bipolar disorder and related behavioral syndromes. But bipolar disorder remains a clinical diagnosis, and no imaging study or other lab test has yet been established to confirm its diagnosis or guide its treatment.
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Unipolar Versus Bipolar Depression
Depression is an area where diagnosis is a challenge negatively impacting treatment. While there are many different types of depression, a major distinction is between unipolar depression and bipolar depression. As study authors Salvetat and colleagues note in their Translational Psychiatry paper on using RNA blood markers, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often significantly delayedpeople with bipolar often are first diagnosed with major depression , in up to 21% of patients.
This happens for several reasons: first, the primary symptoms of depression overlap completely for unipolar and bipolar second, because unless someone has had a clear manic episode , the elevated mood and behavioral changes with less severe symptoms may not be identified on history-taking because either they are more subtle, or did not appear problematic because they were part of a phase of feeling happy.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose bipolar disorder on the basis of a clinical evaluation. It may consist of an interview and discussion about experiences, symptoms, and progression of those over time. There must be at least one episode of mania or hypomania for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Doctors then assess the severity of those episodes to determine the type.
A doctor may also perform a physical exam and run blood work. They do this to rule out other potential causes for symptoms aside from bipolar disorder.
One major challenge for doctors is distinguishing between unipolar and bipolar depression. Unipolar depression is also called major depressive disorder and has the same criteria as bipolar depression. History of mania or hypomania along with depression is part of the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, of which there are several types.
Your doctor cant diagnose bipolar disorder from a brain scan or blood test. However, new research has uncovered a possible link between the expression of a key brain molecule and the diagnosis of mood disorders.
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Do Other Illnesses Mimic Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Mood swings and impulsive behavior can sometimes reflect psychiatric problems other than bipolar disorder, including:
- Substance use disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Certain anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder
Psychosis can occur not only in bipolar disorder but other conditions such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. In addition, people with bipolar disorder often have additional psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders , and social anxiety disorder), substance use disorders, or personality disorders that may complicate an illness presentation and require independent treatment.
Some non-psychiatric illnesses, such as thyroid disease, lupus, HIV, syphilis, and other infections, may have signs and symptoms that mimic those of bipolar disorder. This can pose further challenges in making a diagnosis and determining the treatment.
Other problems often resemble mania but reflect causes other than bipolar disorder. An example is mood or behavior changes caused by steroidmedications like prednisone . .
The Rich Diversity Of Rna
RNA markers are an attractive target for diagnostic test development, Salvetat and colleagues note. RNA is written from the DNA genetic code, a process called transcription. After transcription, RNA is modified in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes, often but not always coding for a protein via “messenger” or mRNA.
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What Causes High Uric Acid Levels
- Certain medications, including low-dose aspirin, diuretics, vitamin B3 supplements, some chemotherapy drugs, and some immune-suppressing drugs
- Xylitol and sorbitol
- High blood insulin levels
Its been known for a long time how important it is to limit alcohol use and review your medication list with your health care providers if you have high uric acid.
The old thinking was that meat was a major contributor to high uric acid levels , but this theory was grounded in guesswork and has not held up to scientific testing.
The new kid on the block, and the most common root cause of high uric acid, is high insulin levelssometimes also called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Insulin resistance now affects more than 50% of all Americans and has reached epidemic proportions around the world, including in Portugal, where this study was conducted. High insulin levels tell the kidneys to reduce the amount of uric acid they release into the urine, allowing more uric acid to remain behind in the bloodstream.
In this interesting study, people with bipolar disorder who also happened to have insulin resistance were more likely to experience rapid cycling and less likely to improve in response to the mood stabilizer Lithium, suggesting that insulin resistance may contribute to the severity of bipolar symptoms.
Alcediag Announces First Blood Test To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
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French mental health diagnostics company Alcediag announced the results of a study that identified six blood biomarkers as major hallmarks of bipolar disorder.
Alcediag said in a press release that its 410-subject study, published in NaturesTranslational Psychiatry,resulted in a reliable and accurate test capable of differentiating the depressive phases of bipolar disorder from unipolar depression.
This test, with high diagnostic performance, specificity and sensitivity greater than 80%, was facilitated by the combined use of RNA editing and artificial intelligence, the company said. The six biomarkers identified match modifications in the RNA sequence of genes associated with bipolar disorder.
“I am happy and proud to see this paper published in Nature magazines journal of Translational Psychiatry,Dinah Weissmann, deputy CEO of Alcediag, said in the release. The importance of our teams work is in harnessing the power of RNA editing a mechanism regulates RNA stability, splicing, gene expression and protein synthesis to create a high-performance test that is able to differentiate between unipolar depression and bipolar depression.
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Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder
In the United States, doctors do not diagnose bipolar disorder formally. You can define this disorder by distinctive symptoms. These are may be difficult to identify in certain situations. After the following conditions, psychologist-or-psychiatrist generally make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder:
- You must have previously had a manic episode.
- A history of depressive symptoms appears in a persons medical records.
- Individuals with bipolar disorder frequently or throughout most of their life experience manic symptoms, according to current or past evidence.
Because detecting bipolar disorder takes many versions, the diagnosis process may take years. This is because a manic episode is defined as a period of abnormally elevated mood or euphoria. This interferes with an individuals functioning and social life, it is difficult to diagnose someone who has only had one. Even if a person fulfills all of the criteria for bipolar disorder, he or she must be examined by a mental health professional. This is to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Researchers Develop A Blood Test For Depression And Bipolar Disorder
via IU School of Medicine
Worldwide, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a depressive episode in their lifetime
While current diagnosis and treatment approaches are largely trial and error, a breakthrough study by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers sheds new light on the biological basis of mood disorders, and offers a promising blood test aimed at a precision medicine approach to treatment.
Led by Alexander B. Niculescu, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at IU School of Medicine, the study was published today in the high impact journal Molecular Psychiatry. The work builds on previous research conducted by Niculescu and his colleagues into blood biomarkers that track suicidality as well as pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimers disease.
We have pioneered the area of precision medicine in psychiatry over the last two decades, particularly over the last 10 years. This study represents a current state-of-the-art outcome of our efforts, said Niculescu. This is part of our effort to bring psychiatry from the 19th century into the 21st century. To help it become like other contemporary fields such as oncology. Ultimately, the mission is to save and improve lives.
This comprehensive study took place over four years, with over 300 participants recruited primarily from the patient population at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. The team used a careful four-step approach of discovery, prioritization, validation and testing.
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What Do Findings Mean For Treatments
Treatment for bipolar disorder often involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, social and family support. It can take some time to find the right medication.
From this perspective, the idea of a blood test for bipolar disorder can offer some hope. The 2021 study found mBDNF levels were higher in those taking antidepressants. This suggests that perhaps a blood test can assess the effectiveness of some medications.
When asked if people with bipolar disorder undergoing treatment should ask for this kind of blood testing, Ditzell explains that the tests need further development.
I dont think we are there yet, but may hopefully be there in the future, said Ditzell. I would not rush out to ask for such a test, as it currently is of limited diagnostic value and may well be cost-prohibitive.