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Researchers Discover Link between Depression and Genetics

In two separate studies conducted by American and British scientists, they found that a particular DNA region is linked to depression. Both teams discovered solid evidence that established the relation between the chromosome 3p25-26 and depression. Their findings appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Pamela Madden of Washington University says, “What’s remarkable is that both groups found exactly the same region in two separate studies.” Ms. Madden led the U.S. team of genetic researchers. Her British counterpart is Gerome Breen of the King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.

Michele Pergadia, a colleague of Ms. Madden at Washington University, says, “We are just beginning to make our way through the maze of influences on depression and this is an important step toward understanding what may be happening at the genetic and molecular levels.”

Both studies were conducted in the hopes of developing new treatment methods for people experiencing depression. However, these findings are not likely to benefit patients in the near future since the development of new medication would take around 10 to 15 years.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. About 20 percent of people will go through a bout of depression, while 4 percent will experience the severe and recurring kind. In addition, the World Health Organization predicts that depression will equal heart illness by 2020 as the disease with the highest incidence.

Certain studies also show that depression factors in over 100,000,000 workday absences in Wales and England at an estimated cost of $14.6 billion.


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