Blood test detects depression - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Blood test detects depression

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(05/23/13) - Angel Schwiefert was diagnosed with depression, also known as major depressive disorder, a few years ago. She tried three different anti-depressants, "we really couldn't get the dosages right or the right medications."

"I worry that these meds are thrown at folks," says Dr. James Smith.

Smith, a psychiatrist, says that with a wide variety of symptoms, diagnosing depression and getting patients the right treatment can mean a lot of trial and error, "piecing it all together can be a bit of a challenge."

But blood work could now take out some of the guess work. MDD-Score is the first blood test to assist in the diagnosis of depression. With a routine blood draw, it measures nine bio markers and 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," Dr. Smith says.

In studies funded by the test's maker, Smith says, MDD-Score was more than 90 percent accurate in catching depression, "MDD-Score more than anything else has given me an opportunity to hit it right on the nose."

But Duke University Psychiatrist,  Dr. Harold G. Koenig has some 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, "I was totally surprised."

She says her psychiatrist upped the dosage of her anti-depressant from 37.5 to 375 milligrams a day, "I'm much better."

Right now the MDD-Score test is available in most states, and is expected to go nationwide by the end of the year.

While skeptical about the blood test, Dr. Koenig says it could be helpful in diagnosing major depression. But more studies are needed before he's convinced.

For more information about the test, visit

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