Researchers at an at-home DNA-testing company, 23andMe are attempting to find out the role that genetics play in influencing attention and visual perception of those suffering from depression and bipolar disorder (BD). The company is recruiting 25,000 people in the U.S. with the goal of building upon the company’s previous findings of how genetics are linked to certain mental health disorders.
The company is planning to recruit 15,000 individuals with a major depressive disorder (MDD) and 10,000 individuals with BD for the study. The research is being jointly conducted by Milken Institute, a medical research nonprofit; Lundbeck, a drug developer; and Google. It aims at studying genetics along with behaviors, symptoms and other environmental factors associated with the two mental illnesses. The participants are being shortlisted from the company’s own database and online mental health forums. As a precondition, the participants would require a diagnosis for either MDD or BD from a physician, be on medication and reside in the U.S. While the study is expected to go on for nine months, it will involve both monthly assessments and surveys.
In an initial research, 23and Me was able to detect 15 regions of the human genome linked to the higher risk of serious depression. Carried out in collaboration with Pfizer, the genome-wide association study utilized the computerized search to compare the DNA of diseased individuals to that of healthy controls to arrive at its findings. The proposed study is an attempt to take the initial findings a step forward. According to Emily Drabant Conley, vice president of business development at 23andMe, the new study results might influence how companies develop drugs for these conditions and might even change the way symptoms are treated.
Common but dangerous mental disorders
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2.6 percent American adults live with BD and in 2014, an estimated 16.1 million American adults (aged 18 years or above) suffered from at least one major depressive episode. As per the agency, mood disorders including BD and MDD are the third most common cause of hospitalizations among adults aged between 18 and 44 years in the U.S.
Considered the most common mental disorder in America, and a leading cause of disability worldwide, MDD is a type of mood disorder that can affect many areas of one’s life. A serious disorder, it is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in external stimuli. Also called clinical depression, people suffering from MDD have trouble performing everyday tasks and often lose interest in things they once enjoyed.
However, the two conditions can be effectively managed through a holistic combination of medication and psychotherapies, and a few lifestyle changes.
Road to recovery
A leader in offering mental health treatment, Sovereign Health of Florida offers programs clinically proven to be effective. At Sovereign Health of Florida, we offer each of our patients’ evidence-based interventions in a safe, private and trigger-free environment.
Basis a thorough pre-assessment, our patients are provided a customized treatment plan. In addition to offering comprehensive depression treatment to our patients, treatment at our bipolar disorder treatment center involves a holistic combination of FDA-approved medication and therapies, complemented by experiential therapies including meditation, yoga and equine therapy.
For more information on our holistic treatment programs or to locate the best bipolar disorder treatment center Florida near you, call our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with our representative for further assistance.