Monthly Archives: January 2011

Antiepileptic Drugs in Breastfeeding: Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

Because breastfeeding has many psychological and medical benefits for both the mother and her child, many women would like to breastfeed.  However, all medications taken by the mother are secreted into the breast milk.  While various studies have addressed the safety of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in nursing infants, none have systematically assessed the long-term effects of exposure to these drugs on the cognitive development of children exposed to these agents through breastfeeding.  This is an especially important issue as it has been demonstrated that certain AEDs, most notably valproic acid, may negatively affect the developing brain, a process which occurs in utero and into the first few decades of the child’s life.

Tragedy and Coping

On Saturday, January 8, a gunman opened fire at a local community event in Tucson, Arizona, targeting U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Giffords was shot in the head and underwent immediate surgery, and there were a total of at least 18 other victims that were killed or wounded.  The dead included bystanders and colleagues of the congresswoman, including a nine year old girl and a federal judge.  The tragedy unfolded in the midst of the most ordinary of circumstances, a Saturday morning at a neighborhood grocery store, in the context of a casual event in which a political representative made herself available to constituents.  The tragedy quickly stunned and horrified the community of Tucson and the entire country, and received national and international coverage through television, the internet, and other types of media, including social networking.

By | 2015-08-13T12:03:31+00:00 January 11th, 2011|General|1 Comment

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Screening for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is experienced by 10-15% of women and carries risks to both mother and baby.  Untreated maternal depression is associated with negative outcomes for children including behavioral problems, cognitive or developmental delays and impaired attachment.  Treatment of a mother’s depression can improve not only her own functioning and quality of life, but can improve her children’s symptoms as well (Pilowsky 2008).  Given the importance of a mother’s mental health on her baby’s well-being, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a recent report which recommends that pediatricians screen mothers for postpartum depression at baby’s one-, two-, and four-month visits (Earls 2010).