Genes can indicate Major Depression

The study of genetcis is unearthing valuable new information at a very fast pace. New research indicates that a persons genes may also have an influence on how likely they are to suffer from serious depression.New research in America has shown a clear connection between depression and genetics. Scientists facilitating the study remarked that the biology behind psychiatric conditions tends to be a lesser known area than most general physical conditions, but the findings from the project have proved to be very positive. The suggested link could lead to easier and earlier diagnosis and also help target appropriate drugs and medication.

Based at the Texas Biomedical Research institute in San Antonio and Yale Institute the study focused on a gene called RNF123. Working with over 1,000 Mexican Americans and their extended families the study results suggested that if there were high levels of RNF123 in an individual’s blood there was less chance of major depression. Luckily RNF123 is very easily measured in the blood. Why this gene brings about this effect is unknown, but the researchers believe that it could influence the structure of certain parts of the brain.

Results welcomed by medical fraternity

Scientists reviewing the results of the study have already given back positive feedback on the results: Adam Naj of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine said “There have been a few markers shown to have some relationship to depression, but it’s been really hard to identify specific ones related to major depression. Conventional methods of evaluating genetic risk involve comparing the genetic makeup of people who have a certain medical condition to people who don’t, and then going back to try to figure out what effects they have on the body.  This type of analysis allows for more detailed identification of genetic factors.”

Future use for depression treatment

These studies offer a refreshing insight into the world of depressive illness. It brings us back sharply to the conclusion that depression should not only be dealt with by therapy, but that medication may also be necessary. Now it is felt that this knowledge can eventually be used to add a new dynamic to the medical practitioner’s toolbox. Evaluating genetic risk is already used for physical conditions such as cardio-vascular disease and diabetes - now it can be used to predict depression and also act as a factor for prescribing the best solution.

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