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20,000 Aussies Needed For Depression Study

Scientists look for genetic link

20,000 Aussies Needed For Depression Study

Scientists are looking for 20,000 Aussies to help with a study of clinical depression. 

The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is the world's largest genetic investigation into the mental illness and those behind it believe it could help lead to new treatments or even a cure. 

The study - a joint effort between researchers at Brisbane's QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the University of Sydney - is about understanding the "genetic architecture" of depression. 

Researchers say they want to put a stop to the current system, where people with clinical depression are often blindly prescribed medication in the hope it will work and have few side-effects despite their effectiveness is not known until weeks later and in many cases treatment is successful for some people and not for others for unknown reasons. 

"In psychiatry we have really suffered because we've been stuck with clinical categories that don't predict very well the response to treatment," says Professor Prof Ian Hickie, AM from the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. 

"Bipolar depression is a great example of that because within that group you have people who do really well with anti-depressants and some people who do hopelessly and only have severe side-effects."

They're looking for volunteers aged over 18 who're currently being treated or have been treated in the past for depression. 

Volunteers will need to complete a 15-minute online survey and donate a saliva sample that will be screened for hundreds of DNA variants through a process known as 'genome-wide association scans' (GWAS).

To volunteer for the Australian Genetics of Depression Study or to learn more, click HERE