Friday, June 12, 2009

Depression and nature vs nurture

The nature vs nurture debate will always be something that is never completely answered. Life is to complex to pigeon hole such things.

From my personal observations I ere on the side of nurture. A example I have seen is that a father of an acquaintance died early, and his siblings are at high risk of heart disease due to being overweight. It will be no surprise if they die early from heart disease. However from observation the "normal" dietary habits were passed through the family to the kids. It is one of high fatty meat products and particular "junk" food. I strongly suspect that if the kids had been brought up in a healthy eating environment their current risk would be significantly less.

I also believe in personal responsibility, and not using genetics as an excuse for any behavior.

In saying all that so you know the background because depression is one of those difficult and sensitive issues.... I have also noticed that parents of young adults that suffer from depression often have a parent(s) or grandparent(s) who have battled with depression as well. Again my observation is that families that don't deal appropriately with emotion(s), produce parents who pass their lack of dealing with emotions correctly to their children and the cycle continues.

This all leads to i In the latest edition of Neuropsychopharmacology there are two fascinating papers. One of these papers compared teenagers from high risk depression group whose parents had had/have depression and another group that didn't have any family history of depression. They followed these two groups for five years and found that the higher risk group took shorter time to enter into REM sleep and they also lasted longer in REM phase.

One of the hall marks of people with model disorders is that they have more REM sleep than those who have healthier moods. In fact it is even hyposthised that to much REM sleep caused depression, instead of depression causing the higher REM sleep.

Thus these teenagers, inspite of not having a clincial mood order, have a measureable differnt sleep even before they might be clinically depressed. This points to a link between genetics and depression.

The other article discusses that mice with a particular gene (CNR1) is more likely to display depression "symptoms" to stress than other mice. Using this information they undertook some data mining and gene work with humans. They were able to show for the first time that CNR1 gene in humans is significantly assoicated with depression in adults.

Thus if you didn't choose your parents well, you might be more suseptable to depression.

No comments:

Post a Comment