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Research Shows Grandkids Have Higher Risks When There is a Generational History of Depression

A recent research study shows that grandkids who have a multi generational history of MDD, or major depressive disorder, will have higher risks of developing depression as well. The study investigators determined that when an individual has both a parent and a grandparent with MDD the risk for the individual to develop depression is much higher. Knowing the increase in risk could help with identification so that grandkids who face these higher risks may benefit from early intervention. The full study details were published in the online journal JAMA Psychiatry. This is the first study published that looks at depression over 3 generations, and that uses direct interviews with all three generations of family members. The study looked at 251 grandkids, with an average age of 18, as well as the parents and grandparents of the grandchildren.

The study conclusion for the research on grandkids, generational history, and depression stated “In this study, biological offspring with two previous generations affected with major depression were at highest risk for major depression, suggesting the potential value of determining family history of depression in children and adolescents beyond two generations. Early intervention in offspring of two generations affected with moderate to severely impairing MDD seems warranted.” A well established fact is that parental depression raises the psychiatric disorder risks that the child faces. The latest research also shows how important it is to look further into the generational history than just the parents of a child because the risk is impacted by more than a single generation.

Genome Study on Depression Identifies Genome Regions Associated With Depression for Those With European Ancestry

A new genome study for the very first time has identifies genome regions which seem to have an association with depression in people with European ancestry. The study researchers used an innovative way of enrolling people by analyzing data which people had already shared when they purchased their own individual DNA profile using an online service. These individuals then chose to participate in the research option. This method provided researchers with an enormous sample of DNA material to work with. According to co-corresponding study report author and Harvard Medical School associate professor of psychiatry Roy Perlis “Identifying genes that affect risk for a disease is a first step towards understanding the disease biology itself, which gives us targets to aim for in developing new treatments. More generally, finding genes associated with depression should help make clear that this is a brain disease, which we hope will decrease the stigma still associated with these kinds of illnesses.”

The genome study results could play a vital role in developing medical and genetic tests for depression. Perlis explained that “The neurotransmitter-based models we are currently using to treat depression are more than 40 years old, and we really need new treatment targets. We hope that finding these genes will point us toward novel treatment strategies. Another key takeaway from our study is that the traditional way of doing genetic studies is not the only way that works. Using existing large datasets or biobanks may be far more efficient and may be helpful for other psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorders, where traditional approaches also have not been successful.”

New Study Shows Depression can Negatively Impact Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

Cancer patients who struggle with depression typically have a lower quality of life and can have problems getting their lives back on track after they receive treatment for their cancer according to a recent research study. The University of Southampton in England and Macmillan Cancer Support researchers found that 20% of colorectal cancer patients suffer from depression at the time that they are diagnosed with cancer. The full study results and conclusions can be found in the PLOS ONE journal. The study found that cancer patients who are depressed have a risk of very poor health seven times higher than the general population, and they are much more likely, thirteen times more likely in fact, to have a quality of life that is also very poor.

Macmillan Cancer Support Professor Jane Maher, who is also the Joint Chief Medical Officer of the organization, explained the study on depression and cancer patients and described how depression impacts the mental health of the patient. According to Maher “In fact, it affects their recovery more than whether or not they’ve been diagnosed early. We know that depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with cancer, but now we can see the extent to which people are struggling to live with these illnesses. Colorectal cancer can have some difficult physical consequences, such as incontinence and sexual difficulties — it’s more than enough for anyone to have to deal with. Mental health issues can be a real barrier to people getting better. This is a stark reminder that every cancer patient is different and so many people are living with many issues on top of coping with cancer. As healthcare professionals we need to consider each person’s individual needs to ensure they get the best support possible. And not just while they’re going through treatment, but for many years afterwards. This research tells us that having depression has an enormous impact on how people live after their cancer treatment.”

How Effective is Web Based Treatment for Depression?

Millions of people suffer from depression, and one of the latest and most innovative tools to identify and treat this mental health disorder is web based treatment. Is this treatment model actually effective though? According to a new study by Lueneburg, Germany’s Leuphana University web based treatment can be effective when it provides guided intervention and self help. Claudia Buntrock, M.Sc. Was the lead researcher on the study, providing guidance to the research team during the study. 406 adults who all had sub threshold depression but who did not have major depressive disorder were divided into two groups. One group received a web based program that offered guided self-help intervention while the second group received a web based program that offered psychoeducation instead. Both groups still had access that was unrestricted to their usual care and primary care physician visits.

The study on web based treatment for depression found that the guided self help intervention was more effective when the program included therapy which involved problem solving and cognitive behavioral adjustment. The program with guided self help intervention also had the support of an online trainer as well. 82% of the study participants took part in a telephone follow up 12 months after having access to the web based treatment. Of the follow up respondents only 27% of the intervention group participants experienced major depression disorder while 41% of the control group respondents experienced MDD.

The study researchers noted that “Results of the study suggest that the intervention could effectively reduce the risk of MDD onset or at least delay onset. Further research is needed to understand whether the effects are generalizable to both first onset of depression and depression recurrence, as well as efficacy without the use of an online trainer.”

Is There a Higher Risk for Depression and Suicide for Children Who Have Cushing Syndrome?

A new study performed by researchers at the National institutes of Health has determined that children who suffer from Cushing Syndrome may be at a higher risk for suicide and depression than children who do not have this syndrome. The condition is a disorder of the endocrine system which is rare, and it results in the production of abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Often the excess hormone is caused when a tumor forms on the pituitary or adrenal glands, but it can also be the result of taking excessive steroid medications as well. There is a marked difference in the development of depression between adults and children who suffer from Cushing Syndrome. Adults typically experience anxiety and depression before receiving treatment while children generally develop these same symptoms after treatment is received.

NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Division of Intramural Research director Constantine Stratakis, a senior author of the study on Cushing Syndrome, depression, and suicide, explained the study results. Stratakis stated “Our results indicate that physicians who care for young people with Cushing syndrome should screen their patients for depression-related mental illness after the underlying disease has been successfully treated. Patients may not tell their doctors that they’re feeling depressed, so it’s a good idea for physicians to screen their patients proactively for depression and related conditions.” The findings for the study have been published in Pediatrics. Researchers have suggested that children who have Cushing Syndrome should be informed that they could experience changes after treatment so these patients know what to expect and they can report any changes to their physician.