At the top of the list is an article about brexanolone, a derivative of allopregnanolone, which in a small pilot study was effective for the treatment of postpartum depression.  Also interesting are two articles which discuss perinatal anxiety (from Dennis and colleagues); both of these studies indicate that anxiety is just as common as depression during the perinatal  period.  

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Open-label, proof-of-concept study of brexanolone in the treatment of severe postpartum depression.

Kanes SJ, Colquhoun H, Doherty J, Raines S, Hoffmann E, Rubinow DR, Meltzer-Brody S.

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2017 Mar;32(2).

Brexanolone (formerly SAGE-547), is an injectable allopregnanolone formulation.  In an open-label study, brexanolone was effective for the treatment of severe PPD.

Identifying women at risk for sustained postpartum anxiety.

Dennis CL, Brown HK, Falah-Hassani K, Marini FC, Vigod SN.  J Affect Disord. 2017 Apr 15;213:131-137.

The prevalence of sustained postpartum anxiety was 12.6%.  Perceived stress at one week postpartum increased risk for anxiety, whereas partners support decreased risk.

Prevalence of antenatal and postnatal anxiety: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Dennis CL, Falah-Hassani K, Shiri R.  Br J Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 16.

The prevalence for self-reported anxiety symptoms was 18.2% in the first trimester, 19.1% in the second trimester and 24.6% in the third trimester. Postnatally, the prevalence for anxiety symptoms was high initially but overall between 1 to 24 weeks was 15.0%.

Impact of Tryptophan Depletion on Executive System Function during Menopause is Moderated by Childhood Adversity.

Shanmugan S, Loughead J, Cao W, Sammel MD, Satterthwaite TD, Ruparel K, Gur RC, Epperson CN.  Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Mar 21.

Lisdexamfetamine Effects on Executive Activation and Neurochemistry in Menopausal Women with Executive Function Difficulties.

Shanmugan S, Loughead J, Nanga RP, Elliott M, Hariharan H, Appleby D, Kim D, Ruparel K, Reddy R, Brown TE, Epperson CN.  Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Jan;42(2):437-445.

Maternal depression during pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight in term infants.

Ecklund-Flores L, Myers MM, Monk C, Perez A, Odendaal HJ, Fifer WP.  Dev Psychobiol. 2017 Apr;59(3):314-323.

Among 227 pregnant women, depressed women who carry to term had significantly higher heart rates, lower heart rate variability, and gave birth to heavier babies than those of pregnant women who were not depressed.

Prolactin, a potential mediator of reduced social interactive behavior in newborn infants following maternal perinatal depressive symptoms.

Zhang H, Su Q, Yao D, Wang S, Dang S, Ding D, Zhu Z, Shao S, Li H.  J Affect Disord. 2017 Mar 18;215:274-280.

The newborns of mothers exposed to maternal perinatal depressive symptoms displayed reduced newborn social interactive behaviors, and were accompanied by lower maternal prolactin levels, as well as increased maternal and neonatal cortisol levels.

Schizotypal and affective traits in the offspring of antenatally depressed mothers – Relationship to family history of psychosis in the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort.

Taka-Eilola Née Riekki T, Miettunen J, Mäki P.  Eur Psychiatry. 2016 Dec 28;42:36-43.

There were no statistically significant differences in schizotypal and affective scales between offspring with and without antenatally depressed mothers.

Postpartum depression symptoms: a case-control study on monoaminergic functional polymorphisms and environmental stressors.

Comasco E, Sylvén SM, Papadopoulos FC, Sundström-Poromaa I, Oreland L, Skalkidou A.

Psychiatr Genet. 2011 Feb;21(1):19-28.

Genetic variations in the monoaminergic neurotransmitter system, together with environmental stressors, contribute to the development of PPD symptoms.  The COMT-Val158Met variant was significantly associated with PPD symptoms at 6 weeks, but not at 6 months postpartum. Among those with history of psychiatric problems, the COMT-Val158Met and 5HTT-LPR risk variants were associated with PPD symptoms, whereas in the absence of previous psychiatric contact only maternity stressors were related to PPD symptoms.

Development and properties of a brief scale to assess intimate partner relationship in the postnatal period.

Wynter K, Tran TD, Rowe H, Fisher J.  J Affect Disord. 2017 Mar 14;215:56-61.

Prenatal tobacco exposure, birthweight, and offspring psychopathology.

Talati A, Wickramaratne PJ, Wesselhoeft R, Weissman MM.  Psychiatry Res. 2017 Mar 8;252:346-352.


Prenatal tobacco exposure was associated with 0.7lb (9%) lower birthweight, increased rates of disruptive behavior disorders (males: OR=2.66), substance use disorders (females: OR=2.23), and decreased rates of mood disorders (males: OR=0.42).

Duration of the menopausal transition is longer in women with young age at onset: the multiethnic Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.

Paramsothy P, Harlow SD, Nan B, Greendale GA, Santoro N, Crawford SL, Gold EB, Tepper PG, Randolph JF Jr.  Menopause. 2017 Feb;24(2):142-149.

The adjusted median duration of the menopause transition ranged from 4.37 years among the oldest age-at-onset quartile to 8.57 years among the youngest age-at-onset quartile. Cigarette smoking was associated with an earlier onset and a shorter duration. African American women had a longer duration than white women. Body mass index was associated with a later onset  but did not affect its duration.



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