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Postpartum Depression may have a biological answer

By KJ Mullins     May 4, 2010 in Health
Toronto - After childbirth there are greater levels of a brain protein called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) present. MOA-A may explain why postpartum blues and clinical depression are common says a new study published today.
The study by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health used advanced brain imaging. The imaging revealed that levels of brain MAO-A in healthy women four to six days after delivery were 43% greater as compared to women not recently pregnant. The worse day for postpartum blues is on day five. The findings found that was also the day that MAO-A was strongest.
MAO-A removes natural chemicals in the body like serotonin which are responsible for mood. The researchers believe that this removal process could be what makes new moms so sad.
"Understanding the biology of postpartum blues is important because when it is severe it leads to clinical level postpartum depression, the most common complication of childbearing affecting 13% of mothers, and one that can have a devastating impact. We hope this information may be used in the future to create dietary supplements that could provide the nutrients removed by high MAO-A and lower the risk for postpartum depression," Dr. Jeffrey Meyer, principal investigator for the study was quoted in a press release obtained by Digital Journal.
The study (Elevated Brain Monoamine Oxidase A Binding in the Early Postpartum Period), funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the National Alliance for Research in Depression and Schizophrenia, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
More about Mao-a, Postpartum depression, Researchers
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