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Study aims to end guesswork in depression treatment

In a report for WABC out of New York, Dr. Jay Aldersberg writes of a major study involving doctors on five continents, which will examine the precise nature of clinical depression.

Researchers will look for blood and genetic markers for depression, and will even map and measure patients’ brains.

According to Aldersberg, the goal of the study is to eliminate a lot of the “guesswork” that’s currently a big part of depression treatment.

“Doctors hope this study will help determine who should get what antidepressant and when,” Aldersberg writes. “It is an urgent matter, considering the use of antidepressants has shot up nearly 400-percent over in the last 25 years in the U.S. alone.”

He quotes psychiatrist Dr. Subhdeep Virk of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who says antidepressants still have unresolved issues. Despite the fact that they’re the most commonly used drugs among adults in this country, doctors still can’t predict who will respond to which drugs.

Also of concern to medical professionals are the potentially serious side-effects associated with anti-depressants like Zoloft and Prozac, which are categorized as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These drugs have been linked to birth defects in babies born to women who take them during their pregnancy.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the report here: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/health&id=8647014