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When someone is diagnosed with depression, patient and doctor often begin a long trial-and-error of different treatments. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, so patients may try several options before finding the best one. But in the future, a brain scan, blood test, or some combination could help guide doctors to the best drugs, or lead them to suggest talk therapy.

Recently, Emory University researcher Helen Mayberg reported that a PET scan, a commonly used imaging method, can reveal whether a patient will respond better to an antidepressant or cognitive behavioral therapy. And in May, Medscape reported that David Mischoulon of Massachusetts General Hospital presented findings that the amount of a particular protein in the blood of depression patients could indicate whether a patient would do better by adding a form of folic acid to his or her treatment.

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