Scientists have identified 44 genetic variants that increase the risk of major depression, and found that all people carry at least some of the variants. The new study helps explain why not everyone is getting better after taking the drug, and scientists say it will help develop new drugs.
In the same study, the scientists also found that the genetic basis of depression was the same as other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, and many variants were associated with targets for antidepressants.
Depression affects 14% of the world’s population and is the biggest contributor to non-fatal health losses. However, only about half of the patients responded well to existing treatments.
Gerome Breen, of king’s college London, said: “the newly discovered genetic variation may lead to new treatments for depression.” The study is a global study of 135,000 depression patients and 344,000 controls.
“This study reveals the genetic basis of depression, but this is only the first step,” said Catherine lewis, another researcher at king’s college London. “We need further research to find out more about the genetic basis and understand how genes and the environment work together to increase the risk of depression.”