Gut flora

Scientists Find Physiological Markers for Depression and Schizophrenia

Neuroscientists say they’ve developed a blood test that could help with early diagnosis of depression and schizophrenia. They published their results in the journal Experimental Physiology.

The group of symptoms collectively known as “depression” may result from a variety of causes. Recent studies have linked the illness to genetics, physical differences in the brain, and even an imbalance of gut bacteria. But regardless of what causes it, speedy detection is the key to treatment. Early diagnosis may be even more important in schizophrenia; one 2004 report found that the later a person was diagnosed, the more severe their symptoms would be, and the less responsive they’d be to treatment.

One potential pathway to diagnosis could be a protein called N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR). Brain scans of people with schizophrenia have shown lower-than-average…