Nearly 80 genes linked to mood dis­or­der

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY CONOR RIOR­DAN

Scientists have pin­pointed nearly 80 genes which could help ex­plain why some peo­ple are more sus­cep­ti­ble to de­pres­sion.

A team of ex­perts led by the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh an­a­lysed the ge­netic codes of 300,000 peo­ple to iden­tify ar­eas of DNA which may be linked to the con­di­tion.

They found 78 genes which could help ex­plain what trig­gers de­pres­sion and as­sist in de­vel­op­ing bet­ter treat­ments.

Dr David Howard, lead au­thor of the re­port, said: “This study iden­ti­fies genes that po­ten­tially in­crease our risk of de­pres­sion, adding to the ev­i­dence that it is partly a ge­netic dis­or­der. The

“We hope it will nar­row down the search for ther­a­pies”

findings also pro­vide new clues to the causes of de­pres­sion and we hope it will nar­row down the search for ther­a­pies.”

De­pres­sion af­fects one in five peo­ple in the UK ev­ery year and is the lead­ing cause of dis­abil­ity world­wide.

Life events such as trauma or stress can contribute to its on­set but it has not been clear why some peo­ple are more likely to de­velop the con­di­tion than oth­ers.

The scientists used in­for­ma­tion from a UK Biobank – a re­search re­source con­tain­ing health and ge­netic in­for­ma­tion for 500,000 peo­ple – to con­duct their study.

Some of the genes dis­cov­ered are known to be in­volved in the func­tion of synapses, tiny con­nec­tors that al­low brain cells to com­mu­ni­cate with each other through elec­tri­cal and chem­i­cal sig­nals.

They confirmed their findings by ex­am­in­ing anonymised in­for­ma­tion held by per­sonal ge­net­ics and re­search com­pany 23andMe, with the donors’ con­sent.

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