When depression is not caused by genetics, can you use your genes to treat it?
When it comes to depression, genes play a big role in the disease, but not all of them are the same.
The key to finding a cure is identifying the genes that can be targeted, a problem experts say is particularly prevalent with genetic disorders.
“It’s really important to recognize that genes are the main determinants of how we behave, how we react to challenges, how well we function in society,” said Dr. Michael D. Breslin, the director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Molecular Medicine.
In fact, the genes responsible for the symptoms of depression have a history of overlapping.
It’s not just the genes, though.
Other genes, known as epigenetics, can also influence behavior and brain function.
Epigenetics The genetic code is the blueprint for the physical and chemical properties of cells.
The chemical makeup of a cell determines the shape and function of its parts.
When a person has a disorder, they typically have some genetic mutations, which cause the cell to change in a certain way.
The DNA of the cells changes.
This can cause the cells to be more or less “self-perpetuating” or to have different functions.
Studies suggest that a particular gene, called the DAT gene, can be associated with depression.
Researchers have identified genes that influence depression in people with different kinds of depression and the most common one, called DAT1, is associated with people with bipolar disorder.
Scientists also have found that a gene called GADD2, which is linked to anxiety disorders, can influence behavior.
While the cause of depression is still unknown, the idea of altering one’s genes may help to reduce the severity of depression.
“It is possible that if we can alter some of the genes involved in the production of stress hormones, it could help us to decrease stress, anxiety and depression,” said Breslyn.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Sources ABC News, The Huffington Post, NPR, ABC News Live, The Hill, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, AP, CBS News, ABCNews.com, ABC Health, The Washington Post