Genetic Link to Depression

researchA scientific research team led by Edinburgh University scanned the genetic code of 300,000 people and may have found a link between a person’s DNA and depression.

“Our findings suggest that broad depression is the most tractable UK Biobank phenotype for discovering genes and gene sets that further our understanding of the biological pathways underlying depression.” Nature Communications

This could explain why some people are more prone to depression than others. The condition affects 1 in 5 people in the UK.

Professor Andrew McIntosh from the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh said:

“Depression is a common and often severe condition that affects millions of people worldwide. These new findings help us better understand the causes of depression and show how the UK Biobank study and big data research has helped advance mental health research. We hope that the UK’s growing health data research capacity will help us to make major advances in our understanding of depression in coming years.”

The UK Biobank consists of data from 501,726 individuals from 23 centres across the UK. The registered volunteers with the UK Biobank provide information on their health which is used in confidence by researchers.

The Edinburgh University based research was funded by Wellcome as part of a £4.7 million project to better understand Depression.

Dr David Howard, from the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh said:

brain“This study identifies genes that potentially increase our risk of depression, adding to the evidence that it is partly a genetic disorder. The findings also provide new clues to the causes of depression and we hope it will narrow down the search for therapies that could help people living with the condition.”


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  1. You can see that it follows in families, like allergies follow in families. Thing is, as it’s in families, the families can be more understanding and accepting of how a person is, which can help them to deal with it – both the individual concerned, and the family, too..
    I’m from a long line of ….unusual…….. people, and we work with it and accept each other for what and how we are.
    I know that studies need to be done, as that can then help with focusing on how best to approach a troubled mind, when that trouble needs to be eased.
    From personal experience though, I would honestly say that it easy enough to see that it follows in families, and that, sometimes, if folk had the more kindly approach that this can bring, that can be a big help in dealing with it.
    Awareness and kindness from those around you, can help enormously.
    People with a troubled mind do need hep to deal with it, but there is also a lot to be said for not labelling, and accepting a person, for being as they are.
    Look at all the creative, gifted, inspired, good-hearted people who have had trouble dealing with the black dog, black cloud – however you see it.
    That’s a question – is it better to be medicated out of it, or learn to work with it to illuminate life? Your own life, and possibly that of others too?
    I’m not going to try to cover that here. Again, personally, I know it’s a hard road to walk, and I’m not even particularly gifted! but I still prefer to be this way, than to sleep-walk through life. That’s just my choice.
    I do think that folk could be more accepting of the choice a person makes, when they can’t take it, and their choice is to ‘step off the wheel’. That shouldn’t be seen as shameful or weak – it’s their choice.
    As trying to work with it is some people’s choice.
    As sleep-walking is some people’s choice.
    And now, I’m awa’ out into the spring sunshine – which also helps!

  2. PS I’ve been thinking some more about this. Asthma is often in families, too, as are good/bad eyesight or good/bad teeth!
    Eyes and teeth could be described as being purely physical.
    Asthma and allergies are physical conditions, but can have a non-physical, emotional ‘trigger’.
    Our state of mind could be seen as being purely non-physical.
    But, if, for example, depression can be seen to run in families, as can asthma, allergies, level of eyesight and dental health – that raises the question of how much the physical and the non-physical are connected?

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