New Genetic Mechanism For Depression
While depression is quite normal when life gets tough, major or chronic depression can lead to cognitive impairments, such as the inability to concentrate or making decision, and even to suicidal thoughts. What’s worse is that depression includes things like insomnia or excessive sleeping, loss of energy and pains which are not treatable through medication. Furthermore, there is also a whole range of mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder and dysthymia, among them) which also include frequent episodes of depression. Depression and also appear when things do not go the way we want to or when we suffer the loss of a dear someone and in the United States of America, this psychiatric disorder affects more than 17.6 million people. Moreover, it seems that in the next twenty years or so, depression is expected to become the second cause of disability worldwide, as depressed people are more prone to develop conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Suicide is also a consequence of depression and there are many people who contemplate to such a thing, but there are even more who actually do it.
Although depression can be kept under control with proper medication (as there are as many forms of treatment as forms of depression), there has not yet been found a treatment which would cure people from it. However, researchers have made a new study and they discovered a new genetic mechanism for depression which could be curable, in the future, through proper treatment. Dr. Martin A. Kohli, the lead researcher of the study, said that the discovery is very important, especially because medication for depression has quite a few limitations and they can meet resistance and a wide range of side effects. Depressed people who are not helped by medication right now may have a chance. “Identification of mechanisms causing depression is pertinent for discovery of better antidepressants,” said Kohli. Although all researchers agree on the fact that depression is caused by both exterior factors and genetics, discovering the specific gene that influences the condition was a hard task to perform. However, examining the functional relevance of the genetic association between depression and a gene called SLC6A15 (a gene that codes for a neuronal amino acid transporter protein), researchers found out that a reduced expression of this particular gene can increase a person’s resistance to stress and thus, make him overcome depressions. According to what the researchers said, the gene appears to respond to some drugs and the study may help scientists develop a new drug that could treat depression.
Given that there are so many people around the whole world that suffer from major depression, developing a new antidepressant drug to help them cope better or even overcome this condition would be the best thing for them. Furthermore, researchers said that more studies should be made on the subject matter, so as to get some more details about how genes can influence one’s mood and mental well-being.11