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Scientists identify 44 genetic risk factors for major depression



LONDON: International scientists have identified 44 genetic variants that increase the risk of developing severe depression and find that all people carry at least some of it.

The new findings may explain why not all are treated Antidepressants would improve their condition, the scientists said and could also point the way to new drugs.

In the largest study of its kind, scientists also found that the genetic basis for depression is shared with other psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, and that a number of variants have been linked to the targets of antidepressant drugs.

Major depression affects around 1

4 percent of people worldwide and is the largest contributor to long-term disability in the general population. But only about half of the patients respond well to existing treatments.

"The new genetic variants have the potential to invigorate the treatment of depression by providing ways to discover new and improved therapies," said Gerome Breen of King's College London.

The study published on Thursday in the journal Nature Genetics was a global study comparing data from more than 135,000 patients with major depression and about 344,000 controls.

"This study has thrown a bright light on the genetic basis of depression, but it's only the first step," said Cathryn Lewis, another King's London London expert who worked on the team.

"We need more research to discover more of the genetic basics and to understand how genetics and environmental stressors work together to increase the risk of depression."


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