|Basic InformationMore InformationTestsLatest News|Antidepressants Used by 12.7 Percent of Those Age ≥12 in U.S.U.S. Antidepressant Use Jumps 65 Percent in 15 YearsSmoking During Pregnancy Up Among Women With DepressionDepression After Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis Ups Death RiskYoga May Help Ease DepressionLonger Estrogen Exposure May Protect Against DepressionEstrogen May Influence Women's Depression RiskLosing Medicaid Tough on People Battling Depression: StudyAddition of Aripiprazole Ups Major Depressive Disorder RemissionNo Sign That Antidepressants in Pregnancy Harm Kids' Brains: StudyMed Switch Not Always Best Choice With Tough DepressionDepression Contributes to Health Decline Seen in Cancer CaregiversDepression May Worsen Health for Cancer CaregiversElectric Brain Stimulation No Better Than Meds For Depression: StudyDepression Inversely Linked to Body Composition in TeensReview: Depression Screening As Inpatient Important, FeasibleDepression Can Slow Hospital Patients' Recovery: StudyAntidepressants During Pregnancy Safe for Baby: StudyWhat You Need to Know About AntidepressantsAPA: Internet-Based CBT Can Be Helpful in DepressionCan Online Treatment Replace Your Therapist?Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly PeopleObesity, Sex Predict Remission for Antidepressant MedicationsGender Differences in Depression Tend to Appear About Age 12Depression's Gender Gap Shows Up in Pre-Teen YearsStudies Question Link Between Mom's Antidepressant Use, Autism in KidsTrauma as a Teen May Boost Depression Risk Around MenopauseBlood Test Promising for ID of Early Depression, SchizophreniaBlood Test Might Someday Distinguish Early Depression, SchizophreniaHold That Pose: Yoga May Ease Tough DepressionDepression May Hasten Death in Years After Heart DiagnosisAntidepressant Efficacy Varies for Depressive Symptom ClustersDepressed Psoriasis Patients at Higher Risk of Psoriatic ArthritisCan Depression Up Odds for Arthritis Linked to Psoriasis?Postpartum Depressive Symptoms Fell in 2004 to 2012Depression Often Untreated in Dialysis PatientsPostpartum Depression Affects New Dads, TooPanic Disorder May Up Odds of Depression Rx Side EffectsSometimes the Holidays Aren't Always JollyPilots Suffer Depression, Suicidal Thoughts at Fairly High RatesMore Than 1 in 10 Pilots Suffer From Depression, Survey FindsSelf-Care Tools Cut Depression in AMD, Diabetic RetinopathyDepression, Suicide Ideation Prevalent in Medical StudentsDepression on the Rise Among U.S. Teens, Especially GirlsDepressive Symptoms Linked to Functional Status in CADHigh Rate of Antidepressant Use After CancerResearchers Find Antidepressant Bupropion Crosses PlacentaMom-to-Be's Antidepressant Use May Be Tied to Speech Issues in ChildDepression Can Fuel Heart Disease in Midlife Women: StudyDepression Common in Patients With Chronic AnginaQuestions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Blood Test Might Someday Distinguish Early Depression, Schizophrenia
by -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Updated: Mar 14th 2017
TUESDAY, March 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- It's often difficult for doctors to tell the difference between depression and schizophrenia, especially early on.
Now, researchers say they're on the trail of a blood test that might be able to do just that.
"This is the first objective, physiological marker for two major psychiatric disorders that, once fully developed into a clinical test, can allow for earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and selection of more appropriate medications for patients," study co-author Dr. Handan Gunduz-Bruce said in a news release from The Physiological Society.
Gunduz-Bruce is a schizophrenia researcher at the Yale School of Medicine.
One psychiatrist agreed that such a test is needed.
"It can be very difficult to diagnose depression and schizophrenia, especially when they onset in the adolescent years," said Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.
"Symptoms may not be as clear and the patient may not exhibit all symptoms of the disease," Krakower added. He believes an early diagnostic test "may help us one day quickly diagnose complex cases and offer earlier intervention for our patients."
According to the Yale team, animal research had already shown that the release of a hormone called arginine-vasopressin (AVP) relies on a cellular process known as NMDA receptor signaling.
NMDA is a brain cell receptor for glutamate -- a chemical that delivers messages between brain cells and may play a role in depression.
NMDA receptor signaling appears to be increased in people with depression but reduced in those with schizophrenia, the study authors explained.
For the study, the research team gave volunteers a highly concentrated salt solution. This solution is designed to trigger the release of AVP. The researchers then tested each patients' blood for AVP.
The researchers found that AVP release among those with depression was different from those with schizophrenia. Depressed patients had a greater release of the hormone, while people with schizophrenia had a decreased production.
According to the researchers, the findings could lead to a test that might help identify certain forms of depression and schizophrenia.
Since the two conditions often have vague and mild symptoms early on, such a test might enable patients to be diagnosed sooner and receive more appropriate treatment, the researchers said.
Still, that day may be a long way off -- the researchers said they haven't yet developed a test that could be used outside of their lab.
Dr. Ami Baxi directs inpatient psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She agreed with Krakower that "although this method will not capture everybody with depression or schizophrenia, it is a step towards earlier and more accurate diagnosis with potential for targeted treatment options."
The study was published March 13 in the journal Experimental Physiology.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health provides more information on schizophrenia.
This article: Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.