The word ‘jolly’ has often been a way to describe the slightly overweight but genuinely happy people. Now researchers at McMaster University in Canada have found that a particular gene that increases the chances of being overweight is also a ‘happy gene’ and an 8 percent reduced chance of suffering with depression.
FTO is the so called fat gene which has previously been shown to be the major genetic contributor to obesity. The collaboration of genetic researchers and psychologists were intending to discover if being obese increased your chances of suffering from depression.
The research was collected as part of the EpiDREAM study, led by the Population Health Research Institute. 17,200 samples of DNA was analysed from participants in 21 countries.
Contrary to the initial hypothesis, the presence of the FTO gene was associated with an 8 percent lower risk of depression.
The study finding were subsequently confirmed by analysing the genetic status of patients in a further three international studies.
The study leaders reported that an 8 percent decrease in chances of depression is substantial enough to make a big difference in the day to day care of patients. Rather the investigation has discovered a fresh molecular basis for depression.