Trial taking place in Guernsey to help with depression diagnosis

Credit: Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL/Pixsell/PA Images

A trial is underway in Guernsey to help diagnose what treatment people should have if they are dealing with depression, using a simple taste test.

The Mood Assessment Taste Test (MATT) is used to help health professionals decide whether individuals would benefit from anti-depressants.

Over 50 years ago scientists discovered that people dealing with depression have a reduced sense of taste. This is because the same chemicals, serotonin and noradrenaline, are used by the body concerning mood and taste.

After a decade of research, Ranvier Health in Guernsey has been trialing the use of anti-depressants on patients and whether they improve people's sense of taste.

They have discovered that the ability to taste common flavours occur within hours of people taking their first anti-depressant tablet or pill.

Once anti-depressant have increased their patient's mood, health experts at Ranvier have then been able to decided what type of effective treatment they require.

It's estimated that over 300 million people are affected by depression worldwide and it is one of the leading causes of disability according to the World Health Organisation.

Ranvier Health are hoping MATT will provide a painless, same-day test and help identify those likely to benefit from pharmaceutical antidepressant treatment as well as people who may need treatment without medication.

At the moment, doctors still have no way of knowing whether a patient would benefit from antidepressants.

Health experts in Guernsey are hoping that MATT will give people confidence in the treatment they receive, with many medicines for depression having side effects.

The current study in Guernsey is taking place at the Diagnostic Centre based at St Martin’s Pharmacy and if the study is successful, Ranvier Health is hoping it can help millions across the globe dealing with depression.