blood protein testing breakthroughs


Thousands of Europeans may be asymptomatic carriers of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a fatal prion disease that is the human variant of Mad Cow disease. But now, two studies describe new methods for detecting even latent vCJD, which could make blood transfusions safer and help early detection and treatment of the disease.

The blood tests accurately diagnosed 32 patients between the two studies, distinguishing those with the disease from 391 healthy controls. In both cases, the tests were 100 percent sensitive and 100 percent specific and, in one of the studies, the test managed to identify vCJD prion particles in a blood donation more than a year before the onset of symptoms—a first for prion disease detection.


Doctors for the first time can determine which medication is more likely to help a patient overcome depression. Up to a third of depressed patients don’t improve during their first medication, and about 40 percent of people who start taking antidepressants stop taking them within three months.

New research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology measured remission rates of more than 100 depressed patients prescribed either escitalopram alone or escitalopram plus bupropion. Researchers found a strong correlation between CRP levels and which drug regimen improved their symptoms.

Dr. Trivedi identified CRP as a potential marker for depression treatments because it has been an effective measure of inflammation for other disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.



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