Your DNA provides powerful clues to understanding disease, but genes aren’t destiny-- particularly when it comes to mental illness.
Researchers report that a particular gene may increase the risk of depression, but only in combination with an added, nongenetic factor--a stressful life event.
The scientists found that people with one form of a protein that ferries serotonin, a mood-related neurotransmitter, are especially prone to depression when faced with traumatic events, such as being diagnosed with a medical illness or being a victim of childhood abuse. The version of the gene that these individuals carry prevents nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, which leads to feelings of sadness and negative mood and may make it harder for them to recover emotionally from a crisis.
The results confirm earlier work that had linked the serotonin-transporter gene to depression under stressful circumstances, a connection that subsequent studies had questioned. The current analysis includes a broader range of study date, however, and appears to confirm the association.
To your Health, Leigh
This article is from: Time Magazine, Jan 17, 2011, Lab Report by Alice Park