28 August 2013

Simple Tests May Predict Suicide And Diagnose Depression

A Bio-marker For Suicide Risk

A study of nine men who committed suicide and forty-nine bipolar men hospitalized for being suicide risks has linked suicide risk with a chemical that can be measured with a simple blood test, called SAT1, which is involved in cell destruction.  Despite the small sample size, the study shows a relationship of great statistical power between the marker and suicide risk.

Reference: H. L.-Niculescu et al. Discovery and validation of blood biomarkers for suicidality. Molecular Psychiatry. Published online August 20, 2013. Doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.95

A Four Question Test For Depression

Another recent study found that a simple four question test could accurately diagnose depression in German women as well as much longer and more complex diagnostic instruments used previously.
[The] team drew on data from 1,382 German women who completed a 21-item screening questionnaire for depression on two occasions, separated by 18 months. Based on this measure, depression initially affected 3.6 percent of the sample, or 50 individuals, and later appeared in 1.9 percent of the sample, or 26 individuals. Women’s initial responses to a handful of items that best predicted whether they would rank as depressed 18 months later were used to create a four-question decision tree. 
The first question in the tree — “Have you cried more than usual in the last week?” — led the pack in identifying cases of depression. A “no” response to this or any of the other three questions — which inquired about feelings in the last week of disappointment or self-hate, discouragement about the future and personal failure — exempted women from being categorized as depressed. Those who responded “yes” to all four questions were classified as depressed.
The test may not work equally well for men.

 Reference: M. Jenny et al. Simple rules for detecting depression. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Published online June 24, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.jarmac.2013.06.001.

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