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As Kids and Adults

People who are at genetic risk of developing depression as adults are also more likely to have problems as children, Cosmos reports.

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and elsewhere conducted a meta-analysis involving nearly 43,000 people to examine whether a genetic risk of adult mood disorders was associated with risk of childhood mood disorders. As they report in JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers developed polygenic risk scores for adult major depression, bipolar disorder, subjective well-being, neuroticism, insomnia, educational attainment, and BMI, and, as a control, height.

They uncovered significant associations between high depression, neuroticism, and insomnia polygenic risk scores — but not the bipolar risk score — with childhood psychopathology, such as symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and social problems.

"Although currently, genetic risk scores are not accurate enough to make individual predictions for people," first author Wonuola Akingbuwa from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam tells Cosmos, "they may become, in the future, in combination with other risk factors."