Health briefs: Test may predict major depression

  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 11:59 PM

A saliva test for teenage boys with mild symptoms of depression could help identify those who will later develop major depression, a new study says. Researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in teenage boys and found that those with high levels coupled with mild depression symptoms were as much as 14 times more likely to suffer clinical depression later in life than those with low or normal cortisol levels. The test also was tried on teenage girls, but was not as effective. About one in six people suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives, and there is no biological test to spot depression. “This is the emergence of a new way of looking at mental illness,” said study author Joe Herbert of the University of Cambridge.

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