Eva Redei, a professor of Psychiatry at North Western University, Chicago, USA, believes it may be possible to diagnose depression with a simple, quick blood test at the doctor.  Just like checking our iron levels.

Using a blood test, Redei identified nine biomarkers that differed between depressed and non-depressed individuals and was able to identify 100% of those suffering from depression.  These biomarkers signify a difference in gene expression associated with depression.

Even more startling, was that Professor Redei was able to use these biomarkers to identify improvements in depressive symptoms in adults with MDD (major depressive disorder – multiple episodes of depression across time) as they underwent Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (what is CBT? http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-depression#1.)  As depression symptoms improved during CBT, some of the original bio-markers went away in blood samples.  The impact of CBT showed in the person’s body!

This research has immediate implications for GP practice in Aoteoroa. Sometimes we go to our GP when we have concerns about depression but in a 15 minute consultation there is little time to assess someone fully for depression, we may only mention it in passing, and GPs are not as equipped or skilled in picking up depression as psychologists or psychiatrists.  This can increase the time taken to get help for someone who may be depressed to months or sadly, even years.  Untreated depression has severe risks and tends to get worse over time.

“The longer depression is not treated, the more difficult it is to treat” says Redei.  

“There’s also a higher chance of suicide, and adverse effects in the person’s work environment, home environment, and social structure.”

Early, quick blood tests may be the key to early diagnosis in the future and a quick referral to a psychologist for effective treatment.  HOWEVER, you don’t have to wait for a blood test to come to NZ though:

If you or anyone you know, think you may be depressed, there is a very helpful NZ website called Depression.org.NZ with lots of great resourceshttps://depression.org.nz/is-it-depression-anxiety/

You can self-refer to any one of our psychologists, all of whom are trained in CBT and a range of other effective treatments, for an assessment for depression by phoning 4777120, or via our website below:


Thanks to our friend and colleague Professor Rob Muller in Toronto, Canada for the original article