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People who have been abused as children and fortunate enough to carry a gene called corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor one (CRHR1) demonstrate less frequent depression than those abused as children who do not carry the gene.

Rebekah Bradley, PhD, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Elisabeth Binder, MD, PhD, Emory University, studied more than 470 adults; which included testing their DNA for the CRHR1 gene.

Approximately 30% of the group that had variations of the CRHR1 gene appeared to be less depressed than those who did not carry the gene. Those individuals who had inherited 2 copies of the most protective forms of the gene, or “haplotypes,” had depression symptoms that were about half as frequently as those who did not inherit the haplotype genes.

The differences in depression symptoms were only seen in people with histories of moderate to severe abuse; depression levels were not significantly different in people with low to mild abuse.

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