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The search for a depression gene came up empty. A group of 86 researchers were hoping to discover genetic influences linked to depression while studying approximately 34,500 volunteers. Since depression runs in families, many experts believe that there must be a genetic connection. Research failed to demonstrate any specific genes that cause depression. After raising the number of study subjects to over 51,000, only one spot in the whole genome was tied to depression, but it was not close to any genes. The study had focused on patients with symptoms of depression. The study’s authors are considering trying again on a larger scale, this time focusing on patients who have a confirmed diagnosis of depression.
What prevents people from seeking treatment for depression and mental health treatment? Psychotherapy takes time and effort. There is stigma attached to seeking treatment for mental illness. People are hesitant to admit that they attend therapy sessions. Society places illogical taboos and stigmas around mental illness, therefore many people feel ashamed about their diagnoses or symptoms. Another factor that can prevent someone from seeking treatment is severity- he or she may not realize how severe the symptoms are and may feel that therapy is not warranted. The will to get started and knowing how and when to start is another factor.
Research has shown that, in some instances, there are legitimate biological scenarios that cause secondary illnesses that would not exist in individuals otherwise. Researchers in Denmark at the University of Copenhagen were able to isolate an enzyme called C-Reactive Protein (CPR), that when present in high concentrations can cause depression, using a blood test to isolate a specific protein in the bloodstream. It was through this line of research that they found a relationship between depression and arthritis. It was noted in the past patients with inflammation or arthritis may have been simply “written off” by their doctors as upset due to the physical pain and limitations.
This new research has showed that those patients with higher levels of the CPR protein (which is released by inflammation/inflammatory conditions), were 2-3 times more likely to develop depression. It is not clear though, whether inflammation causes depression or the other way around.
An article released on the Time.Com website concerning the link between concussions and depression explains how sustaining a concussion can make one more vulnerable to depression. Two studies were conducted on retired NFL players. The first study, which has already been released found that the former players who are depressed or cognitively impaired have abnormal findings in a specific area of the white matter of their brains. White matter is critical for transmitting signals. The American Academy of Neurology reports that a higher number of concussions equates to a higher likelihood of depression. Neurologist, Dr. John Hart, who was active in both studies, said that these studies apply to everyone who is affected by concussions, not just professional sports players. He said anyone who has suffered a concussion should be monitored for signs of depression. Depression is manageable, but only if doctors know how to diagnose and treat it properly.
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