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The [Tuesday] Papers

"A group of Northwestern University professors and researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, the school revealed in a study set to be published today," the Tribune reports.

"The new study found that adults with depression have biological markers of the illness, said Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine who helped develop the test."

A "side effect" of such a test is the way it illustrates that depression is a biological disorder, like kidney disease or diabetes, and not simply an "emotional" issue, though emotions are impacted.

Here's an admittedly blunt example: You know how you feel when you have a hangover? Now, think if you felt that way all the time. That's depression, for some of us. The chemicals in your brain aren't properly in sync - and it's bringing you down, man! Bringing you down so far that sometimes you are incapacitated no matter how strong your desire to move. Your brain starts circulating repetitive thoughts, you dwell on traumas, you have absolutely no energy . . . because the chemicals in your noggin are out of whack.

Now, to all the professionals out there, I know that's maybe not the best technical description of depression, but that's the best general way I can explain it quickly to the non-depressives out there.

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"If we had an objective, laboratory-based blood test just like a cholesterol test or glucose test, we could reduce the stigma of depression," Redei told the Trib.

Because it would prove once and for all that depression is real - and not just in one's mind.

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When I was a kid, I was convinced I had leukemia because, as I used to say, I felt like I had lead in my blood. My blood tests, of course, came back normal. Now I know that was depression.

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"To develop their test, Redei and the other scientists examined 32 patients ages 21 to 79 who had been independently diagnosed as depressed. They also tested the blood of 32 adults who weren't depressed. After studying all the patients' blood work, the researchers found common markers in the patients who were depressed and those who were not.

"The researchers also tested the patients after they underwent 18 weeks of therapy. The tests were able to determine which patients had benefited from the treatment and which ones remained depressed.

"I would really like to see if the test can predict which antidepressant would be beneficial for which patient," she said.

Bingo.

Finding the right antidepressant can be an arduous journey. The first time I took antidepressants, I went on Prozac and it seemed to work somewhat decently, if not great. At some point - I can't even remember when - I went off it. Oops!

I went back on antidepressants about 10 years ago and when I did, Prozac was ineffective - and just made me tired. I then spun through just about every antidepressant out there - for weeks at a time - including various combinations including Paxil and Ritalin. That sucked. I finally landed on Lexapro and that did the trick, if not greatly. I've been on it ever since.

Apparently different antidepressants interact differently with everybody's individual genetic structure, so finding the right one can sometimes - but certainly not always - be difficult. Doctors aren't even sure, as far as I understand, how antidepressants work exactly, but some are matched for particularly "varieties" of depression - Paxil, for example, is prescribed if you also have anxiety issues, for example, if I remember correctly. Others are chosen because you are basically deciding which side effects you are willing to endure.

Anyway, it seems to me the ramifications for a blood test that can diagnose depression are pretty big for not only treating depression but possibly even preventing it if you are found to have pre-existing markers for it.

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Chicago Media Figures Confused About Hitting Kids
Windy City Live's Val Warner falls apart on-air; Mitchell, Kass also baffled.

I recommend they read at least these two pieces in the Trib:

* Adrian Peterson Case Proves It's Time To Outlaw Physical Punishment.

"It's time to outlaw physical punishment. It's a barbaric, unconscionable, counterproductive practice that has no place in a civilized society. We have endless research proving its ill effects and zero evidence that it works as a corrective. We have books and blogs and educators and social programs and therapists and our hearts - our hearts - telling us better, more humane ways to respond to a misbehaving child. We know better.

* What Kids Really Learn When Parents Hit Them.

"You're not an instructor. You're a model . . .Study after study documents this pattern. It suffuses every interaction between adults and children: love, cooperation, exploitation, violence. The strongest predictor of whether a child thinks it's OK to hit kids, and whether he'll grow up to do so, is how often he's been disciplined that way. Light spanking isn't as bad as wielding a tree branch. But it's part of the continuum. Researchers call this the 'hidden curriculum:' Corporal punishment teaches itself."

*

That's exactly right. Those defending "corporal punishment" were corporally punished themselves. Abusers become abusers. Violence begets violence. And it doesn't "work."

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Won by a non-Riot Fest band playing in Joliet.

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Common Core Adds Up To Big Money For Ed Companies
There are even flying robots that vendors say could help children learn the new standards.

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BeachBook
* Thousands Charged With Drug Possession Walk Free, Leaving Taxpayers With The Tab.

Another outstanding story from Angela Caputo at the Chicago Reporter. Highly recommended.

* Help Prove That Average Baseball Fans Are The Best Scouts In Baseball.

Um, not so sure about that, but . . . "Whether or not you know it, if you're a baseball fan, you probably appreciate or enjoy the game a little bit more because of Tom Tango. The pseudonymous saberist, currently a consultant for the Chicago Cubs, has had a hand - often the most important one - in developing many of the most interesting and useful statistical tools developed over the last decade or so, including some of the best-known, like WAR and FIP. Even better, as befits someone who's maintained a vigorous internet presence even when working for major league teams, he's put them out there for everyone to use and tinker with."

* Chris Sale Does Not Have Bones In His Body.

No, no he doesn't.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Cure for the common core.



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Posted on September 16, 2014


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Obscene Healthcare CEOs.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Lazy Hazy Crazy Dog Days.

BOOKS - The Origins Of Environmental Bullshit.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Daisies.


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