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Surprising Science

Can Blood Tests Diagnose Depression?

The way we diagnose depression is changing, in the laboratory and the clinic. New blood tests measure depression’s biomarkers while new diagnostic guidelines say grief is the same as depression.

What’s the Latest Development?

The way we diagnose depression is changing in the laboratory and the physician’s clinic. New blood tests purport to correctly diagnose depression by measuring biological markers like inflammation and neural development. Meanwhile, the nation’s leading authority on disease diagnosis says griefthe kind associated with losing a loved oneshould be treatable with psychotropic drugs. The editors of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-5, say making grief into a disease would help psychiatrists treat sufferers.

What’s the Big Idea?

The blood tests which measure depression’s biomarkers require further testing as eight of 43 patients were given false positives. Thus the trouble of diagnosing psychological disorders remain. Critics of the DSM-5 have pointed out the newest diseases are those easily treatable by Big Pharma’s drug regimens. Others have remarked on the emotional necessity of grief, which further solidifies strong ties among friends and family after a loved-one has passed away. Do you think grief should be treated with anti-depression medication?

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