An adequate dose of physical activity diminishes risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal ideation (SI) imposed by a genetic predisposition, a recent study found. Researchers evaluated associations of 5 candidate polymorphisms with probable MDD and SI, the effects of physical activity on these endpoints, and whether physical activity attenuates genetic risk in military members (n=736). They found:
- Carriers of the mineralocorticoid receptor genetic variant −2C/G C allele were nearly twice as likely to meet criteria for probable MDD and 3 times as likely to report SI compared with noncarriers.
- C carriers who were also less physically active were 3.3 times as likely to meet criteria for probable MDD and 9.6 times as likely to endorse SI as compared to physically active noncarriers.
- Lifestyle modification that includes the recommended amount and intensity of physical activity may effectively target mood disorders in genetically vulnerable populations.
Taylor MK, Beckerley SE, Henniger NE, Hernández LM, Larson GE, Granger DA. A genetic risk factor for major depression and suicidal ideation is mitigated by physical activity. [Published online ahead of print January 20, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.002.