June 27, 2017  Last Update: December 21, 2016, 11:10 pm

Predicting Depression by Testing Cortisol Levels in Saliva

Spit now, and we can predict if you’ll become depressed later.

Researchers in the UK discovered that cortisol levels in the saliva of clinically depressed boys can be used to predict future levels of depression.

Of teenagers who reported feeling depressed, those with high levels of the hormone cortisol in their saliva were 14 times as likely to develop severe symptoms of depression later in life, according to Bloomberg Business week’s coverage of an AP report. The same study noted the risk of depression was only 4 times as likely for teenaged girls, so perhaps cortisol is less of a signal for females. Researchers are interested in diagnosing clinical depression and related mental disorders.

So-called “spit kits”, direct to consumer test kits that analyze saliva, are a hot topic for research. Companies see potential for large profits from inexpensive test kits that solve real clinical problems, and are of interest to consumers.

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