Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

Tag Archives | PMAD

Is BDNF a Biomarker for Depression During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period?

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a growth factor which acts on neurons in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, promoting the survival of neurons and promoting the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.  In the brain, it is most active in the hippocampus, cortex, and basal forebrain—areas important  to learning, memory, and […]

Continue Reading · 0

Sleep Problems Common During Pregnancy, Associated with Depression

While we tend to think of sleep deprivation as a postpartum issue, a recent study from Finland indicates that sleep problems are relatively common during pregnancy, for both mothers and fathers. This study included 1667 mothers and 1498 fathers.  The researchers evaluated the core symptoms of insomnia (sleep onset problems, nocturnal awakenings, too-early awakenings, and […]

Continue Reading · 0

New Legislation to Support Maternal Mental Health

Some good news for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders… Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act  to provide federal grants to develop and maintain programs for screening and treatment of postpartum depression. This bill, introduced by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass) and Congressman Ryan Costello […]

Continue Reading · 0

Postpartum Depression: Focus on Managing Comorbid Anxiety Symptoms

  Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of antidepressant medications for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD).  Most of the these studies focused on the impact of these medications on depressive symptoms; however, it is clear that many, or maybe most, women with PPD also have significant anxiety symptoms.  Thus, we can hypothesize that medications […]

Continue Reading · 0
Credit: Depressed Mother from Wikimedia Commons

What Keeps Women with Perinatal Depression from Getting the Help They Need?

  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released recommendations on Screening for Depression in Adults. The Task Force recommended that clinicians screen ALL ADULTS for depression and noted that screening in the primary care setting is beneficial. Echoing the recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists last year, the  USPSTF […]

Continue Reading · 0
Credit: Pregnant Woman from Wikimedia Commons

Predicting Postpartum Depression: Elevated Leptin Levels as Biomarker?

Biomarkers (or biological markers) are used in many fields of medicine to provide objective information on normal or pathological biological processes and to predict response to therapeutic interventions.  Researchers have long searched for biomarkers which could be used to identify women with postpartum depression (PPD) or, even better, to predict which women are at highest […]

Continue Reading · 0
Credit: Depressed Mother from Wikimedia Commons

Suicide in Postpartum Women: Can We Predict Who is at Risk?

Women are at significant risk for severe psychiatric illness after childbirth, particularly during the first three months.  Suicide is a rare but tragic outcome of untreated psychiatric illness in this setting.  In order to prevent suicide, we must be able to identify which women are at highest risk for suicide; however, relatively few studies have […]

Continue Reading · 0

Breastfeeding Status Does Not  Affect Risk for Postpartum Depression

For decades, researchers have postulated a connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression (PPD). Many have suggested that breastfeeding may protect against postpartum depression and have suggested that the cessation of breastfeeding may be a trigger for postpartum depression and/or anxiety. However, the research examining the association between postpartum depression and breastfeeding has been mixed and […]

Continue Reading · 0
Credit: Pregnant Woman from Wikimedia Commons

Interpersonal Therapy Effective for Moderately Severe Depression During Pregnancy

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy which is based on the theory that deficiencies or disruptions in interpersonal relationships play an important role in the emergence and persistence of depression.  The primary goals of IPT are to reduce symptom severity, improve interpersonal functioning, increase social support and decrease social isolation.  IPT has been demonstrated […]

Continue Reading · 0
Credit: Depressed Mother from Wikimedia Commons

Your Opportunity to Comment: Research Plan for Postpartum Depression Interventions

To be honest, I was not really familiar with the USPSTF until this task force issued recommendations regarding screening for depression in adults and emphasized the importance of screening for depression in pregnant and postpartum women.  But what I have learned is that the USPSTF recommendations reach a tremendous number of people and have the […]

Continue Reading · 0