Researchers at King’s College London looking at genetic links between depression and type 2 diabetes have found that the two illnesses occur at the same time in 87 per cent of men due to genetic factors.
Previous research showed that people with depression may be up to 60 per cent more at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, while those with type 2 diabetes are in the region of 15 per cent more at risk of developing depression.
Now leading psychiatrists and scientists have discovered a “significant genetic overlap” as part of a study which aimed to discover how the two conditions may be linked.
The research scientists have made the discovery while undertaking a large scale study involving 160, 000 pairs of twins.
Dr Carol Ka, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and her team from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London have been investigating the extent to which the co-occurrences could be due to interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors using two approaches, twin data and genome wide association studies (GWAS).
While experts have long presumed that the simultaneous occurrence of both diseases was purely coincidental or due to lifestyle, the study’s early findings show that genetic flaws are also a factor.
The research team found that in 87 per cent of men who had diabetes and depression, genes were to blame. The link was slightly less strong in women with 75 per cent of cases attributed to genetic variations.
Further research is now needed to explore the effect of gender in the interplay between genetic factors and environmental influences, such as diet and lifestyle.
Dr Kan and her team’s findings will be presented later today at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress.

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