Depression Can Change Your DNA, Study Claims

depression can change your dna

Depression has always been seen as a mood disorder to those who haven’t experienced it and sometimes, even those who have don’t understand the science behind the way depression affects your brain. New research has come to light showing that depression can change your DNA and change the way in which your cells generate energy.

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in the United Kingdom carried out a study on 11,500 women to determine how genes may contribute to depression. During their study, they actually found that depression causes a metabolic change in cells. A large majority of the women who were tested had a history of stress-related depression but, in addition, a control group of healthy women were also included for comparison.

Another discovery was that women who had stress-related depression most often caused by adversity during Childhood (such as sexual abuse) had more mitochondrial DNA than their peers. Although some scientists believe this finding may be a coincidence, the results showed a clear correlation between stress-related depression and mitochondrial DNA, which is the part that creates the energy needed in order for the cells to live. When the body is under stress, it must overcompensate by creating more mitochondria in order to maintain energy levels.

To confirm the results as more than a coincidence, the test was also carried out on mice that had been placed under stress for 4 full weeks to determine the molecular changes. As expected, the mice showed the same increase in mitochondrial DNA. Furthermore, the mice were also found to have a decrease in length in their telomeres (the cap at the end of DNA strands which stops degradation and the loss of genetic information).

This was also found to be true when looking back over the results of the women’s study. The erosion of telomeres shows that stress can significantly reduce life expectancy as the telomere gets shorter every time the cell attempts to make a copy of itself until eventually, the cells can no longer divide. However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study on mice is that the scientists found that the process is actually reversible and that once the mice recovered from the stress they were previously under, their cells returned to health.

This study has opened many potential doors for future research and treatment of depression and the findings that the DNA changes are reversible is a fascinating discovery that may lead to successful molecular treatment in the future.

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Christina

Christina

I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.





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5 Comments

  1. Minnie May 18, 2015 at 2:27 am - Reply

    Depression is a DAILY BATTLE, my brother fought it for years. He always hid it behind that warm smile and his jokes. None of us knew, even me. I’m so happy that he finally overcame it naturally without all those pills that had negative side effects on his body. You’re not alone.

    • jazeer May 29, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

      how your brother become healthy….need your help..

  2. Jim May 19, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I have it. The pills don’t work I’m on full strength. When I’m on them nothings different but when forgetting or running out of prescription, when they start wearing off is when you feel different. It’s a strange anxiety wobbly feeling and like your minds full of melted glass is only way I can describe. That your brother has managed to overcome it helps to know. Thanks. That video on youtube also, of Honey Badger. My Mum shown me that and it made her laugh, so I look to the honey badger for inspiration. It’s either me being the honey badger to the symptoms I experience or me being pray to the honey badger of depression and anxiety. It made it a fight worth fighting, honey badgers are cool. : )

  3. Luanne Getz May 23, 2015 at 7:06 am - Reply

    PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY is the correct terminology, when referring to a person who suffers from DEPRESSION or BIPOLAR disorder. A discipline that studies, the relationships between psychological states and the immune system response. From the brain to the stomach ( Nervous, Digestive, Endocrine, Respiratory) all of these conditions are not being treated correctly in the USA.

    The United Kingdom understands the science, that brings about the above stated conditions. Using combined areas of medicine, they create a team of specialists and provide a treatment plan to alleviate all suffering and pain.

    Having done extensive research on Psychoneuroimmunology and coming to understand it as I do – just knowing that people in our country are suffering from this affliction, experiencing intense physical and emotional pain – having lost all hope – they turn to SUICIDE to end all of it….

  4. jazeer May 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    i was consider myself a depression patient for some years but doesnt let myself down and continue my struggle but the stage comes when the suicide thinking starts and that was the time when i choose psychotrist on my friend opinion now i am better but still need some helps from expert of this area.

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