Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Life Without Episodes: Major Depression’s Hidden Group

News from the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Life Without Episodes: Major Depression’s Hidden Group
Francis Mondimore

Frank Mondimore’s conviction that his “interview troubles” weren’t a quirk helped create the new depression category.

When Francis Mondimore began to interview patients whose first of many bouts with serious depression came at a fairly tender age—before their 30s—he didn’t expect this response: They were bewildered.

From his years in the clinic, psychiatrist Mondimore had hunches about lasting depression. But they didn’t become truth until he joined the Hopkins arm of a large NIH-sponsored effort to identify genes for recurring major depressive disease. “The Genetics of Recurrent Early-Onset Depression,” or GenRED project, operates on the premise that genes for early-striking disease are probably more obvious than later types. As part of GenRED, Mondimore began assessing patients, recording their history, writing comments. And that’s when his “interview troubles” appeared.

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