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Study: Heart Rate Could Identify Depression

a patient sits in a chair as a nurse takes his blood pressure
(Toby Talbot/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 December 2020 10:15 AM

A new study found fluctuations in heart rate could help diagnose depression. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in America affecting approximately 26% of adults, according to Healthline. While depression is classified as a mental disorder, it also affects entire body, especially if left untreated.

Now, German researchers have found a novel way to detect depression. The research, presented at the 33rd European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress, might prove valuable in diagnosing depression and in finding the correct treatment.

According to Medical News Today, Carmen Schiweck, Ph.D., from Goethe University in Germany, found analyzing a person's heart rate for 24 hours resulted in a 90% accurate diagnosis of depression. Her study subjects included people who did not response well to the usual treatment for depression that includes medication and talk therapy.

"We knew that something was going on to link heart rate and depression," she said. "But we didn't know what it was and whether it could have clinical relevance."

Schiweck said, on the average, depressed patients had a heartbeat that was 10 to 15 beats higher than the control group.

By feeding the heart rate data to into an artificial intelligence program, the researchers were able to accurately pinpoint the study subjects who suffered from depression. And for those with higher resting heartbeats, they found treatment with the drug ketamine was effective in treating the patients who previously did not respond to traditional therapies. They concluded that people with treatment-resistant depression may see a rapid improved after receiving ketamine therapy.

"When we realized that ketamine leads to a rapid improvement in mood, we knew that we might be able to use it to understand the link between depression and heart rate," said Schiweck, according to Medical News Today.

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A new study found fluctuations in heart rate could help diagnose depression.
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2020-15-08
Tuesday, 08 December 2020 10:15 AM
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