Thursday January 18, 2018

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found

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Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found. IANS
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New York, Dec 27, 2017: Researchers have found that a protein regulating a system in the brain that mediates physiological response to stress may be responsible for depression that some women experience during and after pregnancy.

Postpartum depression strikes nearly one in five new mothers, who may experience anxiety, severe fatigue, inability to bond with their children and suicidal thoughts.

Such depression has also been associated with infants’ developmental difficulties.

Although stress has been identified as a significant risk factor for postpartum depression, this complex disorder is still poorly understood.

The study, published online in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, demonstrated the involvement of the neuroendocrine system that mediates physiological response to stress, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is normally suppressed during and after pregnancy.

The study “shows for the first time that dysregulation of the HPA axis and a specific protein in the brain, KCC2, can be enough to induce postpartum depression-like behaviour and deficits in maternal care,” said study co-author Jamie Maguire, Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, US.

The findings in mice provide a research model for further investigation into the causes of and treatment for postpartum depression, which has largely relied on co-relational studies in humans so far.

The study investigated the specific role of KCC2 in regulating the HPA axis during and after pregnancy.

Th researchers assessed the expression of the protein in brains of virgin, pregnant and postpartum mice.

They observed suppression (down regulation) of KCC2 in virgin mice exposed to stress but not in pregnant or postpartum mice. (IANS)

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Are bullied kids prone to suicidal behaviour?

Children who experienced severe peer victimisation were more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods at age 15, and three times more likely to report anxiety

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Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
  • Children face most severe levels of victimization from the beginning of their schooling.
  • These kids develop significant symptoms of suicidal behaviour and anxiety.
  • Even after the victimization ends, it affects still pertains.

A study found that children who face bullying can be at a risk of developing mental health issues, suicidal thoughts and anxiety in their years. For the study, the team looked at 1,363 children who were followed until the age of 15 years.

About 59 percent of participants had experienced some peer victimisation in the first years of elementary school, although it generally declined as the children grew older.

“Our findings showed a general tendency, in about 15 percent of the children, of being exposed to the most severe levels of victimisation from the beginning of their education until the transition to high school,” said Marie-Claude Geoffroy, from the McGill University in Canada.

Also Read: Anxiety and depression genetic, says research

Even though victimization can end after school days, its affect still pertains. Pixabay
Even though victimization can end after school days, its affect still pertains. Pixabay

Findings

  • Children who experienced severe peer victimisation were more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods at age 15, and three times more likely to report anxiety.
  • This group of children were also 3.5 times more likely to report serious suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.

“Those children were at greater risk of debilitating depressive/dysthymic symptoms or anxiety and of suicidality in adolescence than less severely victimised children, even after we accounted for a plethora of confounders assessed throughout childhood,” Geoffroy added.

Also read: List of 8 Food Items to Battle Depression and Anxiety

“Although peer victimisation starts to decrease by the end of childhood, individuals in the severe trajectory group were still being exposed to the highest level of victimisation in early adolescence,” Geoffroy noted.

Severe peer victimisation may contribute to the development of mental health problems in adolescence, thus, it is important to prevent victimisation early in the lifespan, the results suggest.

The study was published in journal CMAJ. (IANS)

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