In a study by University of Central Florida, it has been found that a gene variant, believed to be carried by nearly 25% of the population, increases the odds of getting depressed. The study found that people with apolipoprotein-E4 (ApoE4) have a 20% greater chance of developing clinically significant depressive symptoms later in life compared to people who don’t have the gene variant.
“Some genes are deterministic, like the one that causes Huntington’s disease — where if you’ve got it, you’ll get the disease. This isn’t one of those genes,” said co-author Daniel Paulson.
Lead author Rosanna Scott used health and well-being data of 3,203 participants between 53 to 71 years. During the examination it has become clear that those who have ApoE4, has more symptoms of depression as they aged.
“Her thesis addressed a critical gap in the theoretical framework of this area of study,” Paulson said. “Now we can more systematically move forward with research on causes and treatments for late-life depression.”
Scott wanted to read ApoE4 and its potential relations to depression as it is also known to negatively impact on how a body deals with cholesterol.
“Bottom line, you do statistically have a higher risk of developing depression if you have ApoE4, but it’s not deterministic. You can’t change your genes, but you do have some control over improving your health,” she said. “That should be encouraging.”