Depression and a Genetic Predisposition – DNA and Mental Illness
I find the articles of most interest to be those in the field of genetics and mental illness including this article on the genetic predisposition to depression, and more recently the genetic link to ADHD. Even though these studies are in the very early stages, they shed some new light on mental illness and some promise of breakthroughs in treatment. The genetic link to a disposition to depression is in the forefront of medical and genetic studies today. Can depression be genetic or is depression genetically inherited are questions that are often asked of me. Is there a genetic predisposition to depression or is there a suicide gene? Certain studies have claimed to isolate parts of the brain and genes that may be responsible for depression; and other studies claim that the environment can alter the genes which would give someone a predisposition to depression or other mental illnesses. Still other research has claimed that toxins or deficiencies or a plethora of vitamins in early development can also lead to mental illness.
To say that the cause of an illness of any sort is genetic is somewhat of a vacuous answer. We can then ask what was the cause of the illness in the ancestor that passed this gene along; and on and on we go. Somewhere in the family of origin, somebody had to be the “prime cause” or “first cause” that introduced this illness to the family gene pool. Now the question of whether the prime cause was a gene mutation or environmental issue cannot be avoided. This also entails another issue viz. if mental illness is initially introduced to a particular gene pool by means other than DNA, then of logical necessity — mental illness can still be caused by factors other than DNA. The question then becomes, what are some of the possible causes of mental illness, are they biological, genetic mutations, environmental stressors, toxins…
One article: is depression curable (that I have posted earlier) claims to have isolated a certain area in the brain that is responsible for pleasure. Thus genetic therapy might be able to repair or change the brain function by adding a missing brain protein p11 to this specific area of the brain.
Another article titled is anxiety genetic claims that fetal stress or traumatic events can cause the genes to turn on or off and create a predisposition to anxiety. Small chemical groups can cause protein complexes to bind to histones and these can control genetic activity. The researchers have studied in detail a molecular complex called PRC2 which can attach small chemical groups – methyl groups – to the histones. Protective complexes can bind to the histones when this marker is present and the genes are turned off. Their new results show that the protective complexes are lost and selected genes turned on when cells are exposed to external stress factors.
Depression and Genetic Predisposition - Can you Break the Genetic Predisposition for Depression?
I believe just because one is genetically predisposed to depression, one can still avoid the manifestation of a depressive disorder in their life. This would be accomplished by avoiding the environmental factors that would bring about a depressive episode and by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping a positive attitude. A predisposition to some illness is not a certain prognosis. If you have depression in your family, it is best to acknowledge the genetics involved, and take every precaution in your lifestyle to avoid a depressive episode. Keep a cautiously optimistic attitude that you will live free of a depressive episode. Depression is very treatable today, and someday maybe curable through genetic engineering.
Depression and a Genetic Predisposition for Other Mental Illnesses are Cutting Edge Research
This article on genetic mutation which was posted on WebMD seems to have found a bio-marker or genetic mutation that influences how the brain responds to stress and plays a key role in depression. The study claims to have found a genetic mutation that precludes certain individuals from producing enough neuropeptide Y. When the brain produces an insufficient amount of this NPY they are prone to have more intense negative emotional responses when subjected to stressful situations. The interesting aspect of these findings is that they could possibly lead to genetic engineering and actually provide a cure for mental illness in the future. Depression and Genetic Predisposition is part of a larger body of genetics studying mental illness which almost always leads us to more discoveries and treatments. Currently we can treat the symptoms of mental illness but seldom/never cure the illness, unless the cause is a hormonal imbalance or if the symptoms are that of another illness that is treatable, such as some infectious diseases. Read the WebMD Depression and DNA or a predisposition to depression.