Pee to find out your risk for depression


Scientists are working on various ways to self-test for mental health issues. — AFP

The global Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the mental health of people around the world.

But it’s not always easy to seek help when it’s needed or even to know that you’re affected by such illnesses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in July (2021) that the pandemic and the successive confinements will have a “long-term” impact on all populations.

Fear of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the consequences of unemployment and isolation, have considerably affected both women and men.

However, those affected may not systematically turn to a health professional to deal with certain mental health disorders such as anxiety, stress or depression.

In Japan, a medical device company called Cellspect has taken the problem in hand by developing urine tests to allow everyone to self-diagnose, as reported by newspaper Saga Shimbun.

The kits will soon be available online (in Japan only) and will allow, via a simple urine sample to be deposited in pharmacies or sent by mail, to evaluate the risk factors of a person for certain mental illnesses.

The user in question, after analysing his or her urine, will have the results sent to his or her smartphone.

Self-testing for mental illnesses is not new, but it is not common either.

And for good reason: their effectiveness is controversial.

These new urine tests would not actually detect a specific mental illness, but rather, determine if a person is likely to develop one – two different things, in short.

In case of a positive test, it is advisable to consult a mental health professional.

The objective is to allow as many people as possible to carry out these tests discreetly and to become aware of their potential risk.

It is a first step towards taking charge of the situation, which is far from easy for many people.

These kits will be available from the end of the month, online and in pharmacies, in the six prefectures of the Tohoku region, at a price between 3,000 and 4,000 yen (RM115.46 and RM153.95).

Many researchers around the world are working on new methods to facilitate the detection of mental illnesses such as depression.

Recently, researchers from Indiana University in the United States unveiled work on a blood test that could detect depression or bipolar disorder, and also determine the most appropriate treatments.

British scientists are interested in earwax, whose level of cortisol – the hormone involved in stress when it is secreted in excess – could also detect certain anxiety disorders, as well as depression. – AFP Relaxnews

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