GLAD To Be Two

In two years, more than 30,000 people have decided to help understand the genetic basis of anxiety and depression, joining the GLAD programme

King's Award. Left to right: Molly Davies, Professor Thalia Eley, Professor Gerome Breen, Henry Rogers

In September 2018, the GLAD study set out to recruit 40,000 people with either condition or both, making it the largest study of its type. Two years later, more than 30,000 people have helped and we are grateful to all of them for making this study a success. 

The response of the public to the project has exceeded expectations. And the programme is active once more, having been temporarily halted in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Anxiety and depression are the most common psychiatric conditions, affecting about three in ten people. The aim of the GLAD Study is to understand depression and anxiety better, in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. 

It is thought that variations in many genes might play a role in both conditions. Genetic factors are thought to account for 60% of the differences between repeatedly affected people and unaffected people. Over 24,000 people have provided their saliva for genetic analysis. 

“We’ve been staggered by the generous response of people affected by anxiety or depression,” says Professor Thalia Eley, based at King’s College London, who is co-lead for the programme.  “Each has made a considered commitment to support our work to understand the causes of anxiety and depression: we are grateful to every person.

“Improvements in technology and analysis over the past few years mean our ability to uncover the genetic links to disease has improved dramatically.  We hope we will provide an impetus to better diagnose and treat these conditions.”

GLAD is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and is a collaboration between the NIHR BioResource and King’s College London.

Read the scientific paper describing recruitment.