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Assessing Genetic Associations with Depressive Features and Body Mass Index in Samoans

Olander, Amber (2021) Assessing Genetic Associations with Depressive Features and Body Mass Index in Samoans. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The co-occurrence of depression and obesity has significant public health implications due to their potentially compounding and debilitating effects. The Samoan population provides a unique opportunity to further investigate the relationship, a component of which may be genetic, between obesity and depression because of the high prevalence of obesity. The first aim of this research is to determine if the three genetic variants associated with depression in Europeans are associated with the depressive features of helplessness and hopelessness in a sample of 519 Polynesians. The second aim is to determine if there is an association between the three genetic variants and BMI. In ordinal regression of helplessness and hopelessness on age, sex, BMI, and genotype I observed no significant associations, except for an association between higher age and higher reported hopelessness. In linear regression of BMI on age, sex, and genotype I observed associations between both lower age and female sex with higher BMI. However, there were no significant associations between genotype and BMI. Although I did not see associations between three genetic variants and the depressive features of helplessness and hopelessness or BMI, additional study of genetic variation and depressive features and BMI could identify pleiotropy between these phenotypes. Association between age and hopelessness is intriguing and additional exploration to investigate the robustness of this association and its underlying causes could enhance awareness, prevention, and treatment of depression among Samoans. The lack of an observed association between these depressive features and body size is contrary to what is observed in most analyses and additional study with this population is needed to validate whether depression and obesity are decoupled in this context. If this decoupling is borne out in follow-up studies in this context, it would imply that independent strategies are needed to address obesity and depression in Samoa. Investigating further could also inform interventions that might interrupt the bidirectional causality that occurs between these two noncommunicable diseases.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Olander, AmberAMO79@pitt.eduAMO79
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberMinster, Ryanrminster@pitt.edurminsterUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberCarlson, Jennajnc35@pitt.edujnc35UNSPECIFIED
Date: 14 May 2021
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 54
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Public Health Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 14 May 2021 18:40
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 18:40

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