Blog Post #404:  (Serious today) Blood Test for Depression

Blog Post #404:  (Serious today) Blood Test for Depression

Taken from:

Sometimes I have to be serious.  

Depression is the topic – not happy, not friendly, not buoyant.  

PsychoGuide says this about depression like this:
Depression doesn’t just affect the mind; it also affects the body. Some of the physical effects include erratic sleep habits, loss of appetite (or increased appetite with atypical depression), constant fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and back pain.” (source: )

Personal Comments:  Over a year ago I had major aorta/heart surgery.  Six-and-one-half hours of surgery. Heart stopped (so the surgical team could work in that area); head packed in ice, blood temperature lowered to 70 degrees.  A second surgery occurred in September.

Particularly after the first surgery, where I could not drive, unable to lift over 5 pounds, couldn’t do any exercise, and had almost no voice; I felt alone – depressed.  I felt I had no value in the world. (Note, that is my view. My wife and daughter did think I had value, but in my depressed mind I was thinking, ‘no one needed me’). I sometimes escaped into a fantasy world where I was young and lively.  

Back to the article:

“In a study published on Monday in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) a team of scientists found that levels of acetyl-L-carnitine, a compound produced by the body which plays a role in cellular metabolism, track with the severity of depression.”

“On average, patients who were unresponsive to antidepressants in the past had the lowest levels of acetyl-L-carnitine in their blood. Depressed women had lower levels than depressed men, an intriguing finding given that women suffer from depression at twice the rate of men.”

The concept is that the presence or absence of this particular compound seems to be tied to the presence or absence of depression.  

So, what does that mean to the average person?

To diagnose depression, the psychologist goes through a check-list of questions like In the past two weeks have you felt down, depressed or hopeless; have you had thoughts of suicide; how are you sleeping; how is your energy; do you prefer to stay at home or go out (and more).

Those questions are subjective – and might depend on the person’s mood at the present time.  A blood test should be an objective and a great aid to fully diagnose depression – and a quick way for the person to get medical help and mental health.  (and … sufficient of ‘proof’ for the insurance company).

Yes, a serious topic.  But, maybe with a blood test, people like Anthony Bourdain or Robin Williams (and many others who suffered extreme depression) would still be alive.

So, somber and serious, but worth the study.


Posted by Bruce White

Leave a Reply