A quarter of the US population carries a gene that makes people more likely to develop depression as they age, a new study has found.
The study, conducted at the University of Central Florida, found that a gene variant called apolipoprotein-E4 (ApoE4), makes it 20 percent more likely that people will develop depression later in life than people without it.
Lead author Rosanna Scott chose to look at the ApoE gene because it is fairly common and is linked to the body’s handling of cholesterol.
“There are some genes that are deterministic, but in this one, just because you have the gene doesn’t mean you will develop depression. There are also a lot of other things like vascular health that play a huge role,” said Scott, PhD candidate in clinical psychology.
The study was conducted on a pool of 3,203 participants, following them as they aged from 53 to 71 years old.
“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 your health,” she explained.
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