Modern methods of diagnosing depression

Of particular interest are modern instrumental methods for diagnosing depression. In some studies it has been found dilatation of the lateral and the asymmetry of the brain ventricles in patients suffering from depression. For additional diagnostic signs include changes in the bioelectric activity of the brain, especially in the period of sleep. In the diagnosis of depression, hormonal studies of the body are used.       

American scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose depression . 

The analysis includes the determination of the level of nine biomarkers of depression in blood plasma. Biomarkers are associated with such factors in the development of depression as inflammation, the development and performance of nerve cells, interactions between the structures of the brain that are responsible for responding to stress, and others.      

Based on the results of these tests, a specially developed formula is used to calculate the likelihood that the patient has major depression. This indicator, equal to 1 to 100, is called MDDScore (a similar indicator calculated by clinical symptoms has a value from 1 to 10).         

The pilot tests of the test system were attended by 36 adults with a clinical diagnosis of major depression and 43 people in the control group. The result was positive in 33 members of the experimental group (the mean MDDScore was 85) and in eight of the controls (the mean MDDScore was 33). The next stage included an additional 34 patients with depression, in 31 of whom the diagnosis was confirmed.                     

Analysis of the results obtained showed that the sensitivity of the test is 90 percent with a specificity of 80 percent. The test report is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry .     

The specialists of the Black Dog Institute and the University of New South Wales made a great contribution to the solution of this issue . They determined the existence of a link between bipolar disorder and emotional perception in an experimental way. The subjects were offered photographs with people’s faces. Emotions from joy to anger were reflected on their faces . The process was monitored by an MRI machine. The device showed less emotional activity in people with mental disorders. It has also been found that all people with mental health problems have a genetic predisposition to this. Thus, the researchers suggest that it will be possible to identify the disease and provide assistance to people in the early stages.               

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