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Author Archive | MGH Center for Women's Mental Health

Probiotics for Postpartum Depression? Not There Yet

The role of the gut microbiome in mood disorders is an emerging, fascinating field in neuroscience and medicine. Numerous studies have shown that the gut microbiota (colonies of both “good” and “bad” bacteria living in the gastrointestinal tract) are important in normal brain function. Furthermore, the status of this bacterial population can activate central nervous […]

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Weekly Roundup for January 12, 2018: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

The two most important articles of late present the results of two studies (Levine et al 2018, Bjork et al 2018) demonstrating that periconceptual use of folic acid reduces the risk of having a child with autism or autistic traits.  The first study assessed risk in all women; the second focused on the risk in […]

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In Brief: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Improves Sleep in Perimenopausal Women

Peri- and post-menopausal women frequently complain of insomnia or poor sleep quality. Sleep disturbance is often attributed to nocturnal hot flashes; however, a sizeable proportion of menopausal women may have a primary sleep disorder.    As part of the Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health network (MS-FLASH), randomized clinical trials (RCTs) were used […]

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Higher Doses of Topiramate (Topamax) During Pregnancy, Increased Risk of Oral Clefts

Topiramate (TPM, marketed as Topamax) is an antiepileptic drug which is also used for migraine prophylaxis, weight loss, and, less commonly, as a mood stabilizer.  Over the last few years we have seen several studies suggesting an increased risk of oral clefts in infants exposed to topiramate during the first trimester of pregnancy.  A large […]

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Weekly Roundup for December 22, 2017: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

The article that has received the most attention is the one on the use of stimulants during pregnancy, focusing on the risk of cardiovascular malformations.  While the media has focused on certain findings, the overall picture is good.  You can read more here. Association Between Methylphenidate and Amphetamine Use in Pregnancy and Risk of Congenital […]

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Good News: More Data on the Use of ADHD Medications During Pregnancy

For women with mild to moderate attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, we often recommend discontinuing stimulant medications and switching to a non-pharmacologic intervention.  Many women experience some decrease in their level of functioning; however, they are able to forgo or minimize pharmacologic treatment during pregnancy.  There are, however, women who experience more severe symptoms which interfere […]

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Clinical Update 2017: Lamotrigine (Lamictal) and Breastfeeding

Women with bipolar disorder are vulnerable to postpartum illness, and it is generally recommended that mothers continue treatment with a mood stabilizer throughout the postpartum period to reduce their risk of relapse; however, this recommendation is complicated by the fact that all mood stabilizers are secreted into the breast milk, although their concentrations appear to […]

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Managing Opioid Dependence in Pregnancy: Outcomes in Children Exposed to Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, or Methadone

The use of opioid drugs in women of childbearing age has become a pressing public health concern.  It is clear that opiate use during pregnancy puts the mother and child at risk; opiate use during pregnancy has been associated with increased risk for oral clefts, neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and ophthalmic problems.  In […]

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Weekly Roundup for December 1, 2017: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

Postpartum Depression Screening Tools: A Review. Psychosomatics 2017. No tool could be deemed best at accurately detecting PPD on the basis of sensitivity and specificity. Additionally, there was no recommended time period in which screening should be done. It Is Time for Routine Screening for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Obstetrics and Gynecology Settings. […]

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