The National Institutes of Mental Health has launched the largest psychiatric genetic study ever attempted to investigate how recurrent depression is passed along through families. While depression is known to be genetically transmitted, discovery of the specific genetic sequence would offer new hope for more accurate diagnoses, better treatment, and the possibility for prevention of the disease. Studies have proven that the parents, siblings and children of a person with major depression, which began before age 30, are more likely to have it themselves.
Researchers at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, the only participating center in Chicago, are currently seeking 245 pairs of adult siblings with symptoms of unipolar major depressive disorder (major depression) to participate.
Major depression is a common and disabling illness affecting more than 17 million Americans each year. Symptoms of major depression may include a persistent sad mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy and fatigue, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, hopelessness or pessimism, feeling guilty or worthless, irritability and/or excessive crying. Those with the illness may experience episodes consisting of three or four of the above symptoms nearly every day for two weeks or more.
Rush is seeking individuals and siblings with symptoms of major depression for this research study. The depression must be recurrent and one sibling must have had an episode between the ages of 18 and 30, and the other sibling must have had an episode between the ages of 18 and 40. Qualified participants will be interviewed about their history and their family's history, and have a blood sample drawn. Phone interviews and local lab work can be arranged for out-of-town participants. Confidentiality is guaranteed for all those involved, even between family members. Data and blood obtained are identified only by identification number and not by name.
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center is one of six medical centers nationwide participating in the study. Other sites include Columbia University, New York; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
To learn more about how you may qualify for this research study, please call 312-563-2843.
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center includes the 809-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital; 154-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about three million people through its outpatient facilities and eight member hospitals.