Blood test to determine best medication for depression

Cora Giddens is like millions of American’s--she can't remember a time in her life when she wasn't depressed.

"Probably my whole life,” Cora recalled. “But as I got older as an adult I was more conscious of what depression was and I saw the signals and symptoms."

Over the years she's tried 4 depression medications but none made her feel better for very long.

"I actually had gotten to the point where I was really just contemplating thinking of ways that I could just stop,” Cora said. “Stop my own life."

Cora is now taking part in a clinical study at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.  Dr. Madhukar Trivedi is the director of the Mood Disorders Clinic where researchers are trying to match patients with their biology by using blood samples, brain scan and electroencephalography images.

"Right now for antidepressant treatments we go through a trial and error process,” Dr. Trivedi said. “We start with one, if it doesn't work you go on to the second one, if that doesn't work you go on to the third and yet a lot of patients are not helped by it."

They either don't work or the side-affects are too severe.

There are a lot of depression medications out there but one pill can make patients anxious while another one can make them nauseous while another may cause sexual dysfunction.

Some patients may simply stop taking their meds which can be dangerous.

"Manic,” Cora said. “Made me hyper, it was unpleasant and I was on another that made me feel no different so I was still struggling."

Cora quit taking her meds--but during the study has found a drug that seems to work.

UT Southwestern is one of four medical centers across the country taking part in the study which will need 400 volunteers including 100 in Dallas.

Dr. Trivedi said that over the past five years great strides have been made in neuroscience. Another step would be great.

"We've arrived at a new phase where we want to match patients with their biology and treatment rather than do a trial and error process," Dr. Trivedi said.

As for Cora--the study is the dawn of a brand new day.

"I think that would help so many people," Cora said.