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Genetics may increase risk for major Depression in Women

January 5th, 2006

Genetics may increase risk for major Depression in Women


Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found that genes may increase the risk of women developing depression more than in men.  This genetic factor increases the risk to approximately 42 percent with women and approximately 29 percent in men. 

First reported in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry this study is a large study of twins.  The researchers studied 42,000 twins with 15,000 being complete pairs from the Swedish National Twin Registry.  


"Our work, together with colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, represents the largest epidemiological study of depression in twins done to date. In addition, it broadly replicates what has been shown by our earlier work using the Virginia Twin Registry. In particular, we have shown that depression is a moderately heritable disorder, suggesting that genetic factors are important, but by no means overwhelming," said the lead author, Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.

Kendler suggests that genes may be responsible for the risk for depression in woman due to the reproductive cyclic sex hormones, especially during postpartum.  The difference in the hormones could be the reason for an increased risk for developing major depression in women versus the men.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer




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