Biological Marker That Indicates Teen Depression


A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom made a wonderful introduction for health. A biological marker is the new discovery and it is meant for identifying clinical depression in teenage boys. This discovery is identified as a milestone for health researchers, who have so far been experiencing a slow progress in finding biological signposts of teen depression.

Cortisol hormone

A study conducted among teens, found that teen boys with increased levels of the hormone called as Cortisol combined with some depressive symptoms are more likely to experience teen depression. Dr. Ian Goodyer, who led the Cambridge University Study has stated that depression is an important illness that might bring about a negative effect on the lives of more than 10 million people in the United Kingdom. He has also pointed out that with the introduction of the biological marker, specialists can pay more attention to teens with increased chances of teen depression and can protect them from major mental issues.

Benefits of the marker

It is hoped that with the results given by the biological marker, the likelihood of teens developing major depression can be reduced and the resulting consequences when the teen grows as an adult can also be prevented. It is pointed out as the triumph in the long-running battle towards health.

A test conducted

The study was conducted in London and the Cortisol measurements were taken from the saliva of two separate groups of teens. Among these two groups, the first group provided four samples in a single week, timed for early in their school day. They were asked to provide another set of samples one year later. Researchers found that the cortisol levels of this group were stable both in boys and girls during this one year period.

The second group had the largest number of teens as compared to the first group and these children were asked to provide similar early-morning samples all through a three day period. This group also self-reported any current symptoms of depression. These reports about the symptoms were collected over the next year and were combined with the cortisol findings. Based on the results, the researchers grouped the teens from the first group into four sub-groups as subjects with normal, low, elevated and high cortisol levels and depressive symptomology.

Group Four teens

Among the other kids, the teens, who came under Group Four, were found to be seven times more likely to develop teen depression as compared to the children, who fell under Group One and two or three times more as compared to the kids under other two sub-groups. Also, it was found that a group of children were less able to provide particular autobiographical data about their depression symptoms as compared to those under group One. It is found from the study that higher level of cortisol can suppress the autobiographical memory recalling ability in the subjects.

Dr. Matthew Owens, who is an author of the study from Cambridge University, has stated that this biological marker can allow psychiatrists to tailor their approaches for boys and girls, who are carrying risk factors for teen depression.

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