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Genetic Makeup Influences Mental Health


New Member
Nov 10, 2004
Depression remains one of the most common conditions to affect the populace in the new millennium. The struggle to keep ahead of the pack and the anxities that this race brings with it is blamed for causing depression.

Scientists have now added another culprit to this mix- gene. In a new study conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers found that a variation on one gene had the potential to disrupt the mental circuit causing it to become hopelessly skewed. This in turn causes depression and anxiety.

Dr. Daniel R. Weinberger, director of the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, says, "The brain handles information much like an orchestra. So we asked questions akin to 'Are the violin and the clarinet playing the same tune and to what extent might this gene account for it?'" He added that the researchers chipped away at what previously seemed like such complex human qualities.

Mental health is a fine balance of complex qualities and the mood regulating circuit happens to be an important part of this balance. How well the circuit is connected accounts for almost 30% of a person's anxious temperament, the study says. The researchers conducted brain scans in 114 volunteers and found that individuals in whom a particular version of the "Serotonin transporter" gene had fewer connections in the amygdala-cingulate circuit were highly strung.

Dr Weinberger says, “The problem is not the alarm clock, but the button you push to stop the alarm, the problem isn't that you're fearful, it's that you can't stop being fearful, you can't turn it off."

He adds that it would not be fair to say that depression is related to genetic makeup alone, the surrounding environment also plays a significant role.

Link.... http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/2742.html
This sounds realistic - as they also researched a while ago the possibility of a rogue gene - an extra chromosome in men who became serial killers - noting that this extra chromosome made them more prone to acting in an agressive manner.

You are essentially the sum of your genes and are only influenced extra by your lifestyle, upbringing and experiences.