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Blood test to diagnose depression

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A simple new blood test to diagnose depression producing a result within minutes, has been developed by Japanese scientists

By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo:Researchers at Keio University in Tokyo have devised a test which indicates depression levels by measuring the concentration of phosphoric acid in the blood.

The new test could help improve early detection rates of depression if performed during regular medical checks, according to the study, masterminded by the medical research group Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT).

The connection between phosphoric acid levels and depression was confirmed in an earlier study conducted by the company involving 66 people, 31 of whom were diagnosed with depression.

The study showed that patients with depression had a lower concentration of what is known as ethanolamine phosphate, with researchers subsequently able to diagnose depressed patients on this basis with an 82 per cent success rate.

In contrast, earlier blood tests for diagnosing depression which have previously been under development involve significantly more time- consuming DNA analysis of white blood cells.

Dr Yoshiaki Ohashi, a board director and chief security officer at HMT, told the Telegraph: "The findings will make it easier for an objective, biological diagnosis of depressive patients. We believe that the use of such a test will make it possible to diagnose patients efficiently at the primary care stage." Following clinical tests and application for health ministry approval, the company is aiming to make the depression blood test available to doctors within the next two years.

( Courtesy: )

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