Researchers at Medical University of Vienna say it is possible for a blood test to detect depression.
Mental illness in the blood? They say, in principle, depression can be diagnosed. Serotonin transporter (SERT) is a protein in the cell membrane that facilitates the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the "happiness hormone") into the cell. In the brain, serotonin transporter regulates neural depression networks. Depressive conditions can frequently be caused by a lack of serotonin.
As a result, the serotonin transporter is also the point of action for the major antidepressant drugs. But the serotonin transporter also occurs in large quantities in numerous other organs such as the intestines or blood. Recent studies have shown that the serotonin transporter in the blood works in exactly the same way as in the brain. In the blood, it ensures that blood platelets maintain the appropriate concentration of serotonin in the blood plasma.
Credit: Medical University of Vienna
Medical University of Vienna
say functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and pharmacological investigations demonstrate that there is a close relationship between the speed of the serotonin uptake in blood platelets and the function of a depression network in the brain.
This network is termed the “default mode network” because it is primarily active at rest and processes content with strong self-reference. Findings from recent years have also demonstrated that it is actively suppressed during complex thought processes, which is essential for adequate levels of concentration. Interestingly, patients with depression find it difficult to suppress this network during thought processes, leading to negative thoughts and ruminations as well as poor concentration.
Some caution is warranted. fMRI studies have shown very little scientifically that has held up and linking serotonin in blood to psychology using them is going to take a lot of convincing.
“This is the first study that has been able to predict the activity of a major depression network in the brain using a blood test. While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, this study clearly shows that a blood test is possible in principle for diagnosing depression and could become reality in the not too distant future," says study leader Lukas Pezawas from the Department of Biological Psychiatry at the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy within the MedUni Vienna.
Scharinger C, Rabl U, Kasess CH, Meyer BM, Hofmaier T, Diers K, Bartova L, Pail G, Huf W, Uzelac Z, Hartinger B, Kalcher K, Perkmann T, Haslacher H, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Kasper S, Freissmuth M, Windischberger C, Willeit M, Lanzenberger R, Esterbauer H, Brocke B, Moser E, Sitte HH, Pezawas L. (2014) Platelet serotonin transporter function predicts default-mode network activity. PLoS One 9: e92543
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Order Patterned With Chaos - How Climate Is Predicted For Decades - With Exact Forecasts Only For Days
- Is The X(5568) A True Resonance ?
- Chess is Smart and Sexy! The Mysterious Psychology of Chess Intelligence 1/3
- Should Pregnant Women Be Concerned About BPA?
- The Five Stages Of A Dying Theory
- Baby Boomers Unbound: Marijuana Surges In The Elderly
- Storytelling Deconstructed: Vonnegut Was Right About Just Six Emotional Story Lines, Says Big Data
- "Thank you mr walker for your time and patience with you have been a big help. Dawn..."
- "Dawn, no there is nothing to be worried about at all. No need to warn anyone. It's just made up..."
- "So do i need to be worried or not do i need to warn anybody or not like tell my family and friends..."
- "Dawn, sorry to hear that you are freaking out about this. I've written up my answer to you as Debunked..."
- "aargh! I forgot you mentioned this promotion....let's see! Thanks...."
- Need Some Zzzs? How Good Are The "Z" Sleeping Pills?
- Honey? Please.
- Environmentalists In Cancun: Gene Drives Will Cause Our Extinction, Now Pass The Caviar
- How CSPI Undermines Science, Nutrition, and U.S. Dietary Guidelines
- Americans' Views on Organic and GM Foods Sometimes Align with Science
- Excessive Pubic Hair Grooming Linked to Higher Rates of STIs