Monday, August 26, 2013

New Blood Test May Be Able to Predict Postpartum Depression

Researchers say that a blood test may soon identify which pregnant women are at highest risk of developing postpartum depression, so they can seek treatment that could control their symptoms.
"Up to 20% of new mothers may experience feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and sadness after giving birth, but doctors don’t have a reliable way of predicting which expectant moms are most vulnerable. While those with a history of mood disorders may have a slightly higher risk of feeling postpartum depression, in most cases there are few signs that foretell which women will develop the disorder in the weeks and months after they deliver.
But in a small study of 52 pregnant women described in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found changes in certain genes, which they could pick up in the blood, that distinguished women who went on to suffer from postpartum from those who did not. The genetic changes were epigenetic modifications, which means they were not permanent alterations in the women’s genomes but instead reflected differences in the way these genes were activated."

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