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December 2017

Leveraging Molecular Genetic Approaches to Yield Insights Into Major Depression Etiology and Clinical Presentation

Author Affiliations
  • 1Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(12):1189-1190. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3017

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is an important public health concern and is often comorbid with other serious medical conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.1 Notably, several symptoms of MDD are related to energy balance, including disturbances in weight, appetite, and sleep. Genetic factors have consistently been demonstrated to influence individual differences in MDD and body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), with twin studies estimating heritabilities (h2) on the order of 0.37 and 0.70, respectively.2,3 Despite numerous associations between MDD, BMI, and obesity, there has been surprisingly limited research on shared genetic liability.

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