In a new advance for the world, a major new study reveals that there is a good chance that depression risk can be determined by a force you might not have thought of.
Research has shown that in the future, doctors will be able to tell if a patient is in the early stages of depression simply by shaking hands.
Researchers at Yonsei University College of Medicine in South Korea tracked more than 51,000 adults and found that those with weaker handshakes were 3 times more likely to have undiagnosed depression than those with stronger handshakes.
Doctors also recorded each participant’s grip score as they completed an assessment of their mental health, according to the Daily Mail.
This included agreeing or disagreeing with statements such as “I’m bothered by things that don’t normally bother me” and “I felt like everything I did was an effort.”
While the researchers analyzed the results, the researchers found that those with a weaker handshake were nearly 3 times more likely to agree strongly with the statements.
The reason for this is not clear, but one theory is that a softer grip could be an indication of poor physical strength in general, caused by a lack of physical activity – often a hallmark of poor mental health.
And shaking hands with a patient has already been shown to provide insight into the likelihood of dementia, heart disease and even – in men – erectile dysfunction.
However, grip strength varies greatly throughout our lives, peaking in our late twenties before gradually declining as we age.
The muscular strength of depressed people is indicated to a large extent by the close relationship between mental and physical health.
Yet questions about how people feel are still the most important tool for determining who is ill and who is not.