A study of 8,686 biological and 554 nonbiological parent-child pairs conducted by Dr. Ramin Mojtabai of Columbia University (New York) found that children of parents with major depression or panic disorders are more likely to have asthma and other allergy-based conditions including hay fever, respiratory allergies, eczema, wheezing, and food allergies.
Dr. Mojtabai, currently at Beth Israel Medical Center (New York), stated in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine that a statistically significant association was seen between major depression and panics attacks in parents (predominantly mothers) and allergic disorders in their biological children. No such relationship was found in nonbiological parent-child pair.
The link was even more pronounced (had an additive effect) when a parent had allergic disorders as well as the psychopathology in question. Dr. Mojtabai noted previous studies which have found an increased risk of depression if children of parents wit allergic disorders. Taken with the present study, the combined data supports the possibility of common genes for depression and panic disorder and allergic disorder.