Clinical Psychologist urges caution on 'gene for depression' claim

A gene has been uncovered that is associated with major depression. The discovery was made by German scientists and they believe the identification could prove the catalyst for new treatments to be developed in order to effectively combat the condition.

However, a Clinical Psychologist has urged caution with regards to the finding.

Professor Peter Kinderman, Chartered Psychologist and Chair of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology, said: "All aspects of human behaviour, including mental health problems, always involves a complex mix of genes and environmental factors. That's hugely unsurprising."

"As much as differences in neurotransmitter genetics might affect how we feel, we absolutely know that what happens to us in our lives and how we respond to stressful life-events affects how we feel and how we react."

"So I'm concerned that a whiz-bang scientific finding might lead us to forget that normal, human, experiences significantly affect our well-being."

"Secondly, although medical interventions for depressionhave their place, there is now very significant research evidence that psychological approaches such as CBT are extremely effective in helping people with mental health problems, precisely because these kinds of therapies address the thought processes themselves."

According to the study, which has been published in the journal Neuron, the gene SLC6A15 - believed to regulate the brain signalling chemical glutamate - is less active in depressed patients.

Marjorie Wallace, founder and chief executive of mental health charity SANE, recently suggested that people who suffer from depression can often come away from the experience with a more positive outlook on life.