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Depression diagnosis may be just a spit test away


Raise your hand if you or someone you know has experienced some form of depression recently. Yep, that’s a lot of virtual hands we’re seeing. One in six people develop clinical depression in their lifetimes, and most mental health disorders surface not in middle age but during adolescence. That means if doctors can reliably test teens today, they can know what to look out for tomorrow.

 

A new study shows that a simple saliva test performed on teen boys with mild symptoms of depression might be able to predict which of them will later develop major depression. Researchers measured a steroid—cortisol—and discovered that those with high levels of it as well as mild depression symptoms were 14 times more likely to become clinically depressed in later years.

 

While the test was tried on both girls and boys, it was found to be more reliable in boys, unfortunately. Girls with elevated cortisol were only 4 times more likely than their low or average counterparts to develop clinical depression. However, it is unclear if the results suggest cortisol levels in girls are not necessarily linked to depression, or if the girls studied simply developed clinical depression at lower rates than the boys.

 

What do you think, babes? If there was a simple test you could take to find out if you had a mental disorder (or could have on later in your life), would you take it?

 

 

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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 2/18/2014 4:30:00 PM

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