Monthly Archives: November 2008

Exercise and Depression

Exercise plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining good health.  Along with numerous other health benefits, recent studies have shown that exercise alleviates symptoms of depression and may be useful in treating mild to moderate major depressive disorder (MDD).  A study by Dunn and colleagues (2005) examined the efficacy of exercise as a treatment for depression, along with the dose-response relationship of exercise and reduction in depressive symptoms.

Substance Abuse Treatment During Pregnancy Improves Outcomes

Despite efforts over the last decade to increase awareness regarding the negative effects of alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy, substance abuse among pregnant women continues to be a significant problem in the United States.  The 2003 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that 9.3% of pregnant women used alcohol and 4.3% percent of pregnant women used illicit drugs.  In other countries, the prevalence of substance use and abuse may be even higher.  For example, in a recent survey of pregnant women in Ireland, 54% admitted to drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Folic Acid Supplementation is Recommended for All Women Taking Anticonvulsants and Planning Pregnancy

Given recent discussions within our group and with our colleague, Lewis Holmes, MD, chief of the Genetics and Teratology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and director of the North American AED (Antiepileptic Drug) Pregnancy Registry, I wanted to expand upon a previous blog post.  In the initial post, I wrote that women who take certain medications, like mood stabilizers or antiepileptic drugs, are advised to take increased doses of folic acid before pregnancy and throughout pregnancy.

University of North Carolina Center for Mood Disorders Expands Services to Postpartum Women

Last Wednesday, the UNC Medical Center opened an outpatient clinic for women with postpartum depression, and on November 3rd opened an inpatient unit for women with postpartum depression.  The inpatient unit is called "the first of its kind" in the United States, and is a progressive example of specialized health care initiatives for improved screening, diagnosis, and treatment of postpartum mood disorders in the US.