Much Touted “Depression Risk Gene” May Not Add to Risk After All—New Look at Data Confirms Strong Association between Depression and Stressful Life Events

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Stressful life events are strongly associated with a person’s risk for major depression, but a certain gene variation long thought to increase risk in conjunction with stressful life events actually may have no effect, according to researchers funded by the NIMH. The study, published in the June 17, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, challenges a widely accepted approach to studying risk factors for depression.


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NIMH has announced the following press release…

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SCHIZOPHRENIA AND BIPOLAR DISORDER SHARE GENETIC ROOTS: CHROMOSOMAL HOTSPOT OF IMMUNITY/GENE EXPRESSION REGULATION IMPLICATED

A trio of genome-wide studies, collectively the largest to date, has pinpointed a vast array of genetic variation that cumulatively may account for at least one third of the genetic risk for schizophrenia. Three schizophrenia genetics research consortia, each funded in part by NIMH, report separately on their genome-wide association studies online July 1, 2009, in the journal Nature. One of the studies traced schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in part, to the same chromosomal neighborhoods. Two consortia shared their results – making possible meta-analyses of a combined sample totaling 8,014 cases and 19,090 controls. All three studies implicate an area of Chromosome 6 (6p22.1), which is known to harbor genes involved in immunity and controlling how and when genes turn on and off. This hotspot of association might help to explain how environmental factors affect risk for schizophrenia.

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