Veterans Affairs Research
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This image shows an illustration of a strand of DNA.

November 10, 2017

Philly doctor leads study on link between genetic testing and depression care for vets

Researchers led by a Philadelphia doctor seek to find whether genetic profile test results could help health care providers find tailor-made treatments for veterans suffering from depression.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Assurex Health, a subsidiary of Myriad Genetics, Inc., are set to collaborate on the randomized clinical trial. Researchers will test whether the company's GeneSight test can help improve depression care, Myriad announced this week.

"Through this study we hope to learn if there is an association between the GeneSight test and more effective treatment for Veterans suffering from major depressive disorder, a condition which affects many veterans," Dr. David Oslin, the Philadelphia VA hospital's chief of behavioral health, said in a statement.

Genetic testing results could help healthcare providers tailor treatment plans for veterans who take them, Oslin said.

About 20 percent of the 2.6 million veterans who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan returned with clinical depression or a related mental health condition, and suicide rates for veterans are twice that of the general U.S. population, the company said.

The VA allocated $12 million for the research, which will involve 250 health care providers caring for 2,000 patients at 21 VA medical centers.

The research is expected to be completed in 2021.

More on the study can be found here.