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Genetic Predictors of Postpartum Depression Uncovered by Johns Hopkins University Researchers


5/21/2013 7:24:57 AM

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The epigenetic modifications, which alter the way genes function without changing the underlying DNA sequence, can apparently be detected in the blood of pregnant women during any trimester, potentially providing a simple way to foretell depression in the weeks after giving birth, and an opportunity to intervene before symptoms become debilitating. The findings of the small study involving 52 pregnant women are described online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. "Postpartum depression can be harmful to both mother and child," says study leader Zachary Kaminsky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But we don't have a reliable way to screen for the condition before it causes harm, and a test like this could be that way."

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