HUNDREDS of genes have been newly linked to depression, shedding light on the origins of the condition and highlighting personality types that could be at risk.
The international study, involving more than two million people, is the largest of its kind. It could inform treatments for the condition, which affects one in five people in the UK and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Scientists led by the University of Edinburgh studied information pooled from three large datasets of anonymised health and DNA records and pinpointed 269 genes that were linked to depression.
They also used an innovative statistical method to identify sections of DNA that were common in people with depression and in those who adopted lifestyle behaviours such as smoking.
The findings suggest that depression could be a driving factor leading some people to smoke, but more research is needed to explain why, the team says.
Results also show that neuroticism – a tendency to be worried or fearful – could lead people to become depressed, which could shed light on personality factors that put people at risk. The statistical approach – known as Mendelian randomisation – allows scientists to look at how a condition impacts on behaviour, while ruling out other influences such as age or income.
Anonymised data, used with donor consent, is held by UK Biobank, the personal genetics and research company 23andMe and the Psychiatry Genomics Consortium.
Experts say that the study reflects the importance of data science in understanding mental health.
The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, was funded by the MRC and Wellcome.
Professor Andrew McIntosh, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, who led the research, said: “These findings are further evidence that depression is partly down to our genetics.
“We hope the findings will help us understand why some people are more at risk of depression than others, and how we might help people living with depression and anxiety more effectively in future.”
Sophie Dix, Director of Research at mental health charity MQ, who was not involved in the research, said: “This study adds to the weight of evidence that genes are one of the key risk factors in depression, which is also impacted by life events such as social environment and trauma. The value of this could really be seen when looking into the development of personalised treatments – a welcome step, given the dearth of innovation in identifying new approaches. We have seen very little advancement in nearly 50 years for people living with depression and right now the avenues available are not working for everyone.
“The power of this big genetic study is that it can point to systems in the brain which adds to our currently limited understanding in this area. By increasing our understanding of these systems, and how the social environment affects biological risk factors, we can begin to identify new targets for treatments that could help the millions of people worldwide affected by depression.”
Lord Lieutenant visits Mass Vaccination Centre
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sarah Edwards, has paid tribute to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme during a visit to the Y Ffwrness Mass Vaccination Centre in Llanelli.
During the visit on Wednesday 9th June she was joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr.Jonathan Gravell. They met and spoke to the centre’s vaccinators, NHS staff, security staff and volunteers.
To date, the collective efforts of mass vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, have resulted in the Hywel Dda University Health Board delivering over 431,850 vaccinations. This means 266,785 of the eligible population have now received a first vaccine, and 165,056 have received both doses.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand the incredible work being undertaken by the vaccinators, NHS staff and volunteers. They have played a crucial role in the success of the vaccine rollout programme. I would also pay tribute to the public for their overwhelmingly positive response to getting vaccinated.”
Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the health board, I was delighted to welcome Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Lt Col David Mathias, and the High Sheriff of Dyfed, Mr Jonathan Gravell. I am deeply proud of everyone involved in the vaccination programme and I’m glad they got to see for themselves the incredibly work being undertaken to help get us through this pandemic.”
GP practices thanked for Covid-19 vaccine efforts
Hywel Dda University Health Board is thanking primary care for the commitment and energy shown as GP practices near the completion of offering second doses to every patient vaccinated at their GP practice.
All 48 GP practices across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire signed up to deliver the programme, committing to delivering the programme to certain JCVI priority groups.
Of all doses given so far within the three counties, almost 213,000 vaccines (51%) have been given by GP practices. Practices are now well on their way to completing the task of offering a second dose to every patient who has had a first vaccine and have already done 96,500 second vaccine doses at the time of publication.
Dr Sion James, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care said “Having the experience of running the vaccination programme in my own practice I know how both challenging and rewarding it has been to be part of this programme. It is testament to our Practices commitment to delivering the best patient care possible that they have continued to work with us throughout the programme.
Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community Services and Long Term Care said “I am proud of the commitment shown by all of our practices for the excellent work that they have done in helping the Health Board to deliver this programme. Throughout the pandemic their commitment to maintaining the delivery of general medical services to their patients hasn’t wavered despite staff being under pressure and feeling tired. The delivery of the vaccination programme has been a whole system effort to protect our patients.”
Asbestos Related Diseases in Wales – a call out to readers for their story
The Llanelli Herald are asking readers to contact us at the email address below if they, or their family members have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease.
Have you or a family member been diagnosed with an industrial related disease such as: asbestosis; pleural plaques or mesothelioma which was contracted through the course of you or your family’s employment in Llanelli? If so, then please contact us confidentially to discuss your experience.
The Herald Wales are in the process of launching a public awareness campaign on asbestos and the potential consequences it can pose to the health of those who have dealt with it and the damage to the environment which such material can have.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre which was widely used in construction and other industries until the late 1990s in the UK. People were and still can be unwittingly exposed to asbestos in their homes, employment and communities.
If products containing asbestos are disturbed, fibers from it can then break off and be released into the environment. When asbestos fibres are breathed in, they can enter the lungs which over time, can cause inflammation, which can affect breathing and further lead to various, serious terminal health problems.
Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen
Please email email@example.com with your story.
News2 weeks ago
Operation Elegant: Eight sentenced to 40 years after police break up drugs gang
News5 days ago
Health Board issues urgent call to anyone due a second Moderna vaccine
News2 weeks ago
Engineer from Llanelli through to the semi-finals of Top Tradesperson 2021
Sport5 days ago
Special game marks start of Trimsaran’s centenary year
News2 weeks ago
Premiere of new work to be given by Royal Harpist Alis Huws in Pembrokeshire
Uncategorised3 days ago
Cavity Wall Insulation Removal – Everything you Need to Know
News2 days ago
Parents warned to look out for respiratory illness in children