First biological marker for major depression (Cortisol) could enable better diagnosis and treatment

Teenage boys who show a combination of depressive symptoms and
elevated levels of the 'stress hormone' cortisol are up to fourteen
times more likely to develop major depression than those who show
neither trait, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
researchers from the University of Cambridge have identified the first
biomarker – a biological signpost – for major, or clinical, depression.
They argue that this could help identify those boys in particular at
greatest risk of developing the illness and provide treatment at an
earlier stage.

Major, or clinical, depression is a debilitating mental health
problem that will affect one in six people at some point in their lives.
However, until now there have been no biomarkers for major depression;
this is believed to be, in part, because both the causes and the
symptoms can be so varied.

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