Sunday, October 7, 2007

Genetic Cause Found for PMDD

Researchers have found a genetic variant that appears to be linked to PHDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition that affects between 5-8% of women. Women with PMDD suffer symptoms similar to PMS but more intense so that they interfere with quality of life. Symptoms include emotional and physical problems, such as irritability, marked depressed mood, anger, headaches, weight gain and more.

A new study published in the October 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry reveals the findings of genetic testing and analysis on women diagnosed with PMDD and healthy control subjects. They found genetic variants in the estrogen receptor alpha gene. The association with PMDD ws only seen in women with a variant in another gene, catechol-o-methyltransferase. Researchers report that women with PMDD have an abnormal response to normal hormone levels, and are differentially sensitive to their own hormone changes.

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, comments, "We have been waiting for molecular genetics to provide some insights into the neurobiology of PMDD and this report from Huo et al. provides a welcome starting point for this research area." He adds, "In the case of PMDD, we are interested in the internal, hormonal environment as well as external environmental factors, such as stress. This report suggests that genetic factors may influence both dimensions of PMDD vulnerability."

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