The GLAD team wants to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took part, not just for the initial survey they completed, but for repeating surveys all throughout the pandemic; these are known as the coping surveys. The survey responses were vital in helping the team understand how mental health conditions impacted people during COVID-19.
In September 2018, the GLAD Study, a collaboration between NIHR BioResource and King’s College London, set out to recruit 40,000 people who have experienced depression and/or anxiety, making it the largest study of its type in the world.
A better understanding
Anxiety and depression are the most common psychiatric conditions in the UK, affecting about three in ten people. Understanding them is key to improving treatment.
Currently, the team is looking into the sub-types of depression and anxiety, such as typical and atypical depression, and anxiety disorders characterised by fears versus worries. With this research, they hope to gain a better understanding of how and why people respond to different types of therapies, ranging from non-pharmacological treatments to prescribed medications.
In addition, 12,000 participants have provided detailed records of their prescription medications and relevant side-effects, which GLAD is using to investigate the genetics of side-effects to antidepressants. It is called pharmacogenetic testing, and the team is working with international partners to determine this could be implemented in clinical settings worldwide. Similarly, over 15,000 participants have told us about their experiences of psychological therapy.
Commenting on this, Professor Thalia Eley said:
“One of the most exciting things we are doing at GLAD is working on predicting treatment outcomes.
"We hope this will really help move us towards what we call personalised treatment, which is where you would have a treatment suggested to you on the basis of a profile score and genetics could be a part of that.”
The data collected for the GLAD Study are also being analysed with data collected by similar studies in the Netherlands and Australia. Altogether, a total of 70,000 participants have provided their genetic data and answers to questions related to depression, anxiety, medication, etc. . This represents an uniquely large sample of people who have been assessed the same way for depression and anxiety.
The fundamental biology of depression
Professor Gerome Breen said:
“We hope that by using the same depression measures across so many people, we will be able to discover much more about the fundamental biology of depression than it has been possible to date. By discovering new biology, we should be able to discover new mechanisms that can be targeted by new and different therapeutics and new medications.”
A huge round of applause to the study leads, Prof. Gerome Breen and Prof. Thalia Eley, the King’s College London team and all staff operating our recruiting NHS sites who have all helped reach this amazing milestone!
Interested in taking part? We’d be GLAD to have you on board!
The study is open to anyone who:
- Is aged 16+
- Lives in the UK
- Has experienced an anxiety and/or depressive disorder
Please visit the website, complete a questionnaire and, if eligible, you will receive your saliva kit which can posted to the lab via freepost – simple!
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