The risk of depression

Some people are more than twice as likely to become depressed as others, given similar circumstances, according to landmark research from Brain Sciences University of New South Wales (UNSW).

There are three different genetic types in the population.

* 21 percent of people have the genotype that predisposes them to depression
* 26 percent of people have the genotype with resilience to depression
* 53 percent of people have a mix of the two genotypes

The research also showed there was a 'tipping point' in regards to environmental factors.

"There is an 80 percent chance that those with the genetic predisposition will become depressed, if there are three or more negative life events in a year," said the geneticist on the paper, Professor Peter Schofield, who is Director of the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute (POWMRI).

"It's not just one negative life event, such as a health crisis," said Professor Philip Mitchell, Head of the UNSW School of Psychiatry and Convenor of Brain Sciences UNSW. "The critical issue here is when you're exposed to a series of life events during a period of a year. There is a threshold."

"Our research is significant because there are social, psychological and genetic aspects to it," said Professor Schofield. "While there is plenty of evidence surrounding the significance of family history of depression, until now there has been very little idea about the specific genes involved."

UNSW: The University of New South Wales - Sydney Australia - News - Nature, nuture and the risk of depression

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