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Ah, That's Why

Genetic testing can reveal why some people with depression may not be responding to certain drugs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

For example, it notes that Vince Sparks tried a number of different drugs before seeking testing through Genomind. That test revealed that Sparks harbored a genetic mutation that made him unable to turn folic acid into the form needed to metabolize the neurotransmitter serotonin, rendering selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac ineffective. The Inquirer adds that Sparks then began taking L-methylfolate, the converted form of folic acid, alongside Prozac, which Sparks says has helped his depression.

Genomind, it adds, analyzes variants in 18 genes to gauge how patients metabolize drugs in general as well as specifically how they process drugs used for mental health conditions. And, the Inquirer notes, Genomind isn't the only company applying personalized medicine to mental health.

Such a tailored approach could help cut down on the try-it-and-see method often used by mental health providers, it adds.

"It really pinpoints what is good for you on a genetic basis," Sparks tells the paper. "You're not going to the doctor's as often. You're not having to make as many appointments because you finally found something that works for you."