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Psychology Roundup

March 2, 2012

A blood test may help diagnose major depression.



Can a lab test spot depression? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Identifying people with clinical depression is a matter of having patients fill out questionaires, which doctors then analyze. But such self reports aren’t always accurate.  In a new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers report that a blood test was able to diagnose major depression in about 90% of strudy participants. It looks at biomarkers related to such things as inflammation, neuron development, and neural responses to stress. The researchers think the blood test could identify patients who need further attention.

In other news, scientists will report in the upcoming American Academy of Neurology meeting that weightlifting helps reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. In the study, all exercise helped, but an hour of weight training twice a week was most effective at reducing movement-related Parkinson’s symptoms. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.