A letter by Ramin Parsey, MD, Myrna Weissman, PhD and Patrick McGrath, MD published in the New York Times on August 6, 2012 commented on an article in the New York Times Sunday Review in which Daphne Merkin reflected on the heritability of chronic depression in light of her personal experiences with the disorder.
Dr. Parsey and his colleagues from Columbia University commended Ms. Merkin for recognizing the role that a secure nurturing environment can play in warding off depression even in genetically vulnerable children. Noting that recent studies have indicated that successful treatment of a mother’s depression can reduce symptoms of depression in her children, the authors conclude that “prompt, targeted treatment of depression is critical.”
They offer hope that a new multi-site study of biomarkers to predict which type of antidepressant will work most effectively for individual patients, coupled with better access to treatment, will improve the lives of families living with chronic depression.
Dr. Parsey is chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University. The study referred to in the letter is called EMBARC, which stands for Establishing Moderators and Bioindicators of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care. Drs. Weissman, Parsey and McGrath are principal investigators for the study at Columbia University, which is currently enrolling participants in New York, Boston, Ann Arbor and Dallas.
Additional information about the study is available at: http://embarc.utsouthwestern.edu.