Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News

Here’s an article a friend passed along that highlights a new study on the challenges of tracking down the cause of different types of mental illnesses. A 2003 study linked a gene mutation that interrupted the neurochemical seratonin increased the risk of depression. The new study seems to refute that claim, or at least temper it quite a bit. Here’s one quotation:

Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News: “Scientists have had an unusually tough time linking specific genes with different psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The likely reason: The genetic and environmental interactions are both more subtle and more complex than in many other diseases, said Keith A. Young, vice chair of research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.”

The “cause” of depression is elusive and tricky. Biochemical, situational, and spiritual elements can all come into play. How to unravel the mystery? We, of course, may never be able to completely unravel it. As Lutherans, though, we are blessed with an understanding of God’s world that takes into consideration all of these factors, and does not see them as contradictory. I can look at mental illness, recognize the physiological causes, but also see how my life affects it, and how my spiritual life impacts and is impacted by it.

One thing is for sure. It’s not as clear as a broken leg.

Todd Peperkorn
aka DMR

7 thoughts on “Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News”

  1. It's definitely not as clear. My understanding of bipolar is that your chances of having it are higher if a parent has it. I think some sort of genetic link is indicated here, unless the bipolar parent somehow creates some kind of neural pathways in the child's brain. I'm pretty sure my father has some mental issues, perhaps bipolar, although he has never been formally diagnosed that I know of. From my own perspective I think my issues came more from chemical issues already in my brain than from parental example.

  2. It's definitely not as clear. My understanding of bipolar is that your chances of having it are higher if a parent has it. I think some sort of genetic link is indicated here, unless the bipolar parent somehow creates some kind of neural pathways in the child's brain. I'm pretty sure my father has some mental issues, perhaps bipolar, although he has never been formally diagnosed that I know of. From my own perspective I think my issues came more from chemical issues already in my brain than from parental example.

  3. This is a fascinating subject to me. I often discuss the nature/nurture aspect of mental illness with my friend who has much of it on one side of his family. We're not professionals, but we both basically have come to the conclusion that must be contributions made to a condition based on personal behavioral choices, even though propensities can be present at birth. Evidence of this can be seen in those recovering from mental illness–those admitting they need help can recover to a much greater degree than if they remained in denial. So because the human will and behavioral decision play a part in the recovery, it would seem logical to assume that behavior could have at least exacerbated the illness and accentuated its symptoms.

  4. This is a fascinating subject to me. I often discuss the nature/nurture aspect of mental illness with my friend who has much of it on one side of his family. We're not professionals, but we both basically have come to the conclusion that must be contributions made to a condition based on personal behavioral choices, even though propensities can be present at birth. Evidence of this can be seen in those recovering from mental illness–those admitting they need help can recover to a much greater degree than if they remained in denial. So because the human will and behavioral decision play a part in the recovery, it would seem logical to assume that behavior could have at least exacerbated the illness and accentuated its symptoms.

  5. This is a fascinating subject to me. I often discuss the nature/nurture aspect of mental illness with my friend who has much of it on one side of his family. We're not professionals, but we both basically have come to the conclusion that must be contributions made to a condition based on personal behavioral choices, even though propensities can be present at birth. Evidence of this can be seen in those recovering from mental illness–those admitting they need help can recover to a much greater degree than if they remained in denial. So because the human will and behavioral decision play a part in the recovery, it would seem logical to assume that behavior could have at least exacerbated the illness and accentuated its symptoms.

  6. Admittedly this theory I describe above is not based on hard science, only on phenomena which we have observed in twelve or so relatives, friends, employees and co-workers we both personally know who have bi-polar, OCD, alcoholism, manic depression, severe delusional paranoia and undiagnosed but obvious mental illnesses. Most of our discussions and comparing of notes center on questions, e.g., when should we tell people to get help, what is the best way to deal with obessive compulsive employees, when will talking to someone in the family cause more harm than good by affecting other members of the family–in general how much can you do for people without them taking a first step?

  7. Admittedly this theory I describe above is not based on hard science, only on phenomena which we have observed in twelve or so relatives, friends, employees and co-workers we both personally know who have bi-polar, OCD, alcoholism, manic depression, severe delusional paranoia and undiagnosed but obvious mental illnesses. Most of our discussions and comparing of notes center on questions, e.g., when should we tell people to get help, what is the best way to deal with obessive compulsive employees, when will talking to someone in the family cause more harm than good by affecting other members of the family–in general how much can you do for people without them taking a first step?

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