New research has identified a link between heart rate and depression, which could help with the diagnosis and treatment of the mental health issue.
Depression is determined as mood disorder that can affect person’s day to day life causing physical symptoms as well as sadness, anxiety, loneliness, loss, irritability and it makes more difficult to talk, concentrate, and sleep. Depression can risk certain health issues including heart disease. A new pilot study has found over 90% of depressed patients could be identified from 24 hours by analysing persons heart rate. The research was presented virtually at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress, maybe valuable in diagnosing depression and determining the most effective types of treatment. This study has analyzed a compelling link between depression and heart rate variability. Although, multiple factors influence person’s heart rate, so it has been a challenge to home in on this novel association.
To conduct experiment, 16 healthy people to act as a control group and 16 people with treatment resistant major depressive disorder were recruited, this experiment was conducted for 4 days and 3 nights. Half of the participants with depression received ketamine, while the other half received a placebo. Further, the study concluded those with depression had both, a higher baseline heart rate and a lower baseline heart rate, roughly depressed patients had a heart rate 10-15 beats per minute higher than in controls. After the treatment again heart rate was measured and found both the rate and the heart rate fluctuation of the previously depressed patients had changed to be closer to those found in the controls. The study reveals just by measuring heart rate for 24 hours, 90% accuracy can be assured if the person is currently depressed or not.
This could mean that diagnosis and treatment could be aided by analysing the heart rate of anyone who present with the symptoms of depression.