Depression, is there a Genetic Connection? Mental Health Minneapolis

man_questionIs there a Genetic link to Depression?

While many suffer from depression, the underlying core information or genetic links to it are still being studied to better understand cause / effect.  In this study excerpt by the Harvard review of Psychiatry, the complexity of depression and its origins continue to baffle researchers.  So, in the meantime what do we do to better understand depression, and treat it?
We know that depression is known to run in families. Based on studies of twins, it's estimated that genetic factors account for about 40 percent of the variation in population risk of depression.  So, we need to keep pushing forward with larger studies and more data to seek patterns that lead to better outcomes. knowing that there are many factors that lead to depression help explain that there is not one size therapy for all.  

Genetics matter in treating depression, it is our goal as a society to give patients what they need to improve their current condition and lead productive lives.


An excerpt from the study:
In contrast to their success identifying genes associated with other psychiatric disorders, genome-wide association studies have yet to find any genetic variants associated with depression, according to a report in the January Harvard Review of Psychiatry.
Part of the challenge, authors wrote, is the complex genetic architecture of depression as well as the various types of the disorder.
The report provides an overview of the state of recent research into the genetics of depression as well as the direction future research may take. At this time, even genes affecting dopamine or serotonin neurotransmission have yet to be conclusively linked to depression risk. Meanwhile, more than 100 genetic variants have been associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Still, genome-wide association studies and studies of gene-by-environment (which considers how genes and environment interact to affect risk) offer promise, according to the authors.

Research into the genetics of depression, they wrote, is “at an exciting, yet challenging crossroad.”

"Although the search to identify genes associated with depression has proven challenging, many scientists worldwide are working hard to identify its genetic underpinnings,” added author Erin C. Dunn, ScD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
"Given the established heritability of depression, there is every reason to expect that with larger studies we will be able to identify genetic loci.”

Is there a depressive gene?  What we know is that other diseases can be linked to one defective gene, right now there is talk about the combinations of genetics that influence someone to become depressed, we just don’t know at this point.  Each person inherits a different combination of genes from their biological parents, and it is thought that certain combinations can increase the chances of depression. 

Help Mental HealthAs we continue to develop better ways to treat depression, the best treatments right now come from those who seek the latest information, resources, and use sound judgment / experience with current checks and balances in place to make sure that people get what they need.  
Shared information, positive or negative can help all of us, as our future becomes more and more connected, we have a responsibility to our patients and our community.

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