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World’s biggest depression research project launched in China

(People's Daily Online)    15:54, August 08, 2017
World’s biggest depression research project launched in China
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A research project on major depressive disorder has been launched in China, aiming to discover the cause of a sickness that has taken many lives.

The project, conducted by Shanghai Jiaotong University and the University of California, Los Angeles, aims to collect more than 20,000 blood samples of female patients with major depressive disorder who are of Han ethnic group over five years through cooperation with 60 to 70 hospitals in China. Plus the control group, a total of 40,000 to 50,000 samples is expected to be set up for further study, according to Li Weidong, head of the project.

The enlarged sample pool will reportedly make the project the largest ever in the world.

In recent years, depression has become increasingly familiar among the public, especially as more and more celebrities reportedly die by suicide under the influence. WHO estimates put the total number of patients with depression at more than 300 million, and the disorder is expected to become the second biggest cause of disability by 2020.

Li, who is also the vice dean of the office of research management at Shanghai Jiaotong, said the project would partly learn from the design of CONVERGE (China Oxford and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology)—an international project on Han ethnic group’s genetic data. The control group will include healthy females 40 years or older, while the experimental group will include people over 30 year who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and who have had at least two seizures, Thepaper.cn reported.

Li stressed that all genetic data will be stored and analyzed in China and Shanghai Jiaotong would take the lead in securing intellectual property rights. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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