Genetic influence in depression and addiction explored in study

November 1, 2010, University of Otago

Christchurch researchers are examining the role of genes in two of New Zealand's most common mental illnesses – depression and alcohol addiction.

The University of Otago, Christchurch, researchers are running the country’s largest study to date on treating the combination of these two mental illnesses.

They found 58 per cent of participants have immediate relatives (e.g. mother, father, sibling or adult child) with and – pointing to a likely genetic connection.

The two conditions are often treated in isolation, despite tens of thousands of New Zealanders suffering from both illnesses.

This is the first time in New Zealand extensive data on demographics, genetics and reaction to medication is being gathered on people with both these common illnesses.

It is also a leading-edge study internationally.

Christchurch investigator Dr. Simon Adamson says depression is the ‘common cold’ of and alcohol is the most widely-abused substance.

“One in five New Zealand adults experiences a mood disorder at some time in their lives and one in eight has a substance use disorder. In alcohol and drug treatment settings over half are alcohol dependent and a third have a current mood disorder.’’

The TEAM (Treatment Evaluation for Alcohol and Mood) Study will treat more than 150 people from around the country with the anti-craving drug Naltrexone as well as anti-depressants for 12 weeks, with counselling also provided for a further 12 weeks.

Researchers have just done an initial analysis of data from the first 100 participants.

From this analysis they identified the strong genetic disposition between depression and alcohol addiction.

Participants were most likely to identify their mother as having experienced depression and their father as having experienced an alcohol or other drug problem. Families with higher rates of one disorder usually also experienced high rates of the other.

Geneticists will examine the influence of an individual’s on how they respond to treatment.

Participants are being given either an anti-craving drug and an anti-depressant or just the anti-craving medication in combination with counselling.

Principal investigator, and head of the University of Otago’s National Addiction Centre, Professor Doug Sellman says in people with an alcohol use disorder are four times more likely to be depressed than people without this disorder.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

junkd
not rated yet Nov 28, 2010
Reliable supplier, rapid delivery, guarantee!
http://star-of-he..._id=5831

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.