Thursday March 21, 2019

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

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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Preeclampsia Test can Quickly Identify Dangerous Condition During Pregnancy

Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia

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A new test can quickly identify a common and dangerous condition during pregnancy and help keep mothers and babies healthy and safe. VOA

A new test can quickly identify preeclampsia, a common and dangerous condition during pregnancy and help keep mothers and babies healthy and safe.

When Jessi Prizinsky was pregnant with her first child, her feet started swelling.

“Well, you hear, everybody tell you, you know, the swollen ankles, and get your feet up and all that,” Prizinsky said. “That was where I thought, ‘OK.’ And then it started to be, it kind of looks like it’s in my arms and hands, too.”

Most women expect some swelling when they are pregnant. But these symptoms can also be signs of preeclampsia.

It’s a complication of pregnancy that raises the mother’s blood pressure and affects the blood flow to the placenta. This can lead to smaller or premature babies. Untreated, it can be fatal to mom, or baby, or both.

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Most women expect some swelling when they are pregnant. But these symptoms can also be signs of preeclampsia. Pixabay

Fast, easy test developed

Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia. That’s where Dr. Kara Rood practices maternal and fetal medicine.

“One of the hard parts with preeclampsia is there’s a lot of symptoms of just pregnancy alone, and other medical conditions that have similar symptoms that the women experience, like high blood pressure, headaches, changes in vision. Those can be attributed to a lot of other things,” Rood said.

Preeclampsia is more serious if it occurs earlier in the pregnancy, or in a woman who had high blood pressure before getting pregnant.

Rood says managing this condition early is best for both mothers and babies.

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Researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have developed a fast, easy test to diagnose preeclampsia. That’s where Dr. Kara Rood practices maternal and fetal medicine. Pixabay

“Without the certainty of this test aiding in the diagnosis,” she said, “we as providers are definitely overcautious, as this is definitely something we don’t want to miss because of the life-threatening results of a misdiagnosis for moms and babies.”

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Listen to your body

Because of her preeclampsia, Prizinsky was induced three weeks early. She had a successful second pregnancy and has this advice for other women.

“The biggest thing is listening to your body,” she said.

The test is so easy, women can take it at home, and preeclampsia can be treated as soon as it develops. The researchers expect the test to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the next few years. (VOA)