Researchers discovered 509 genes shared by two common psychiatric disorders and explained everything in a new paper.
There’s more than a fair chance that one in two people diagnosed with depression also struggles with an anxiety condition at some point in their life. According to the new study, the genes we inherit can have an influential role in triggering a lifetime of bad mental health.
Here is what you need to know.
The Genes Matter
Approximately 2 to 6 % of our global community is diagnosed with depression at any moment. Anxiety disorders are also encountered in the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally. Imagine now the two disorders combined.
A team of researchers used a lot of genomic data from over 400,000 participants in the UK Biobank. What they found is genuinely intriguing.
The team’s findings
Researchers searched for a mix of genes common to depression and anxiety and some signs of a personality feature linked to each (neuroticism).
If you don’t know, neuroticism is one of the Big Five personality traits and is not a disorder. However, experiencing a more neurotic personality comes with some consequences. It can interact strongly with an inclination towards periods of depression, self-doubt, and anxiety.
Based on a list of 28 individual and shared traits, the team grouped genomes in the biobank. Then, it applied modelling tools to look after any common factors before finding the associated genes.
Furthermore, the results ended up in a vast database of 1.9 million individuals with depression and self-reported anxiety signs.
Eske Derks is a psychiatric geneticist from QIMR Berghofer. He explains:
“We identified 674 genes associated with either depression or anxiety – and importantly, about three-quarters of those genes were shared.”
The map connecting the genes we get with the mental tool we need to fight today’s chaotic world is somehow becoming clear. More research will soon follow to figure other things out.