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Release: Release: Immediate

Jan. 3, 2000

UI researchers study genetics of depression

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa researchers are interested in talking to individuals and their siblings who have had depression in order to learn more about the genetic factors associated with the disorder.

Men and women age 18 and older who have had depression, and who also have a brother or sister who has had the condition, are invited to participate in the UI study. The project is part of a larger study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health involving six medical centers around the country. The overall goal is to identify the human genes that predispose individuals to depression.

"It's been known that genetic factors play a role in depression," said Raymond Crowe, M.D., UI professor of psychiatry and principal investigator for the Iowa portion of the study. "However, more work needs to be done in terms of identifying which genes are involved and how they are involved in depression. One aspect of this study is to create a national repository of information about the genetic characteristics of families with more than one member who has had depression."

This information, collected from as many as 800 families nationwide, could eventually lead to earlier detection and improved treatments for depression, Crowe added.

Study participants will be interviewed by UI researchers and will be asked to provide a blood sample. Compensation is available. For more information, contact Sandra Boutelle, project coordinator, toll free at (877) 578-8845.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.