For those dealing with Depression (also called Unipolar Depression) or Bipolar Disorder, research led by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program reports the possibility of a common gene that may point to genetic risk factors.
The study points to the possibility that not only are Depression and Bipolar Disorder likely to be linked, but that they may stem from common genes.
“Major mood disorders affect 20 percent of the population and are among the leading causes of disability worldwide. It’s long been known that bipolar disorder and unipolar depression often run together in the same families, hinting at some shared lineage. Yet, until now, no common genes or chromosomal locations had been identified.”
Their report discusses this ‘genetic hotspot’ that may provide a clue to how Depression and Bipolar Disorder develop.
“Researchers, for the first time, have pinpointed a genetic hotspot that confers risk for both bipolar disorder and depression. People with either of these mood disorders were significantly more likely to have risk versions of genes at this site than healthy controls. One of the genes, which codes for part of a cell’s machinery that tells genes when to turn on and off, was also found to be over-expressed in the executive hub of bipolar patients’ brains, making it a prime suspect. The results add to mounting evidence that major mental disorders overlap at the molecular level.”
This news is exciting because studies like this provide hope for those suffering with either of these illnesses. If researchers can find the root causes of Depression and Bipolar Disorder, there is the potential that someday research such as this can provide for a way to better treat, or even some day prevent them from occurring. While no one knows what the future will bring, the fact remains that as science uncovers more information, there continues to be reason to hope.
The report of the study, and quotes contained herein can be found at: “http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2010/same-genes-suspected-in-both-depression-and-bipolar-illness.shtml”