Instead of waiting weeks before finding out whether the depression drug they take will work, many people may be able to find out within days. A study done at the University of Illinois of Chicago found a protein in the brain (called Gs alpha) that changes location in a cell membrane when the depression drug is working. The signaling protein is trapped in a viscous area of the cell membrane and therefore not effective in directing neurotransmitters. However, if the antidepressants worked, it moved the protein into another area of the cell where it could direct the chemicals that carried messages. If this research continues to pan out, one only needs to do a simple blood test in order to determine if the drug will give them relief.
Bonnie - this would finally offer a way to prevent depressed people from being guinea pigs. Confirming whether depression is really the issue is groundbreaking. But this begs the question, if an antidepressant is given for an off-label use (i.e. for menopausal symptoms) to a non-depressed person, why wouldn't it work? The answer is probably what we've seen in other studies...a placebo effect.