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Posted by Sharon W on 7/17/03 at 17:31 (124658)

Since depression has recently been a topic of discussion here, I thought I would contribute what I think is an EXCITING bit of research news on the subject. I know that quite a few of us, at one time or another, have sunk into depression after PF and/or TTS wreaked havoc on our lives and left us struggling to cope with terrible pain -- and in many cases, with losing our jobs. Worse yet, friends and loved ones (no matter how well-meaning they may be) simply DON'T understand...

That qualifies as stress, by almost ANY definition!

Psychologists and psychiatrists have been saying for years that stress can 'trigger' depression, of course... But the fact that they've found the genetic basis for it, might just lead to a real CURE one day!!!

(Excerpts follow)

-- Sharon



Gene Causes Depression After Stress, Study Finds

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

'Having a short version of a certain gene may make people more susceptible to depression after stressful events such as losing a job or a loved one, researchers said on Thursday.'

'People only have to inherit one copy of the gene, from either parent, to become more vulnerable to depression, the researchers in Britain, New Zealand and the United States found.'

'The finding, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, could be the first to show stress as an environmental factor in causing disease, they said.'

'The 5-HTT gene, also known as the serotonin transporter gene, controls the recycling of the chemical messenger [serotonin].'

'Dr. Avshalom Caspi and Dr. Terrie Moffitt, of both the University of Wisconsin and King's College London, and colleagues, followed 847 Caucasian New Zealanders, born in the early l970s, from birth into their 20s.'

'About 17 percent of them had carried two copies of the stress-sensitive short version of 5-HTT, 31 percent had two copies of the longer version of the gene and 51 percent had one of each.'

'The research team also kept tabs on potentially stressful life events involving employment, money, housing, health and relationship woes among the volunteers from ages 21 to 26.'

'At 26, 17 percent of the participants had a diagnosis of major depression in the past year and three percent had either tried or thought about committing suicide.'

'Of those who had more than one big stressful event, 43 PERCENT who had at least one short version of the 5-HTT gene developed depression, the researchers found.'

'That compared to just 17 PERCENT who had two long copies.'


Suzanne D on 7/21/03 at 22:42 (124936)

Thanks, Sharon, for sharing this. You always are so well-read on topics of health concerns!

Such information helps me to be more patient, if that makes sense. Sometimes when dealing with family members who seem to take everything so hard, I am tempted to think that they just aren't trying hard enough (especially when they refuse any help with their problems). But such studies help me realize that in some ways they can't help responding to events in more negative ways than I might.

We surely are complex individuals, aren't we?

Suzanne :)