Perinatal Antidepressant Stunts Brain Development in Rats; Miswired Brain Circuitry Traced to Early Exposure, University of Mississippi Medical Center Study

Published: Oct 26, 2011

Rats exposed to an antidepressant just before and after birth showed substantial brain abnormalities and behaviors, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. After receiving citalopram, a serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), during this critical period, long-distance connections between the two hemispheres of the brain showed stunted growth and degeneration. The animals also became excessively fearful when faced with new situations and failed to play normally with peers -- behaviors reminiscent of novelty avoidance and social impairments seen in autism. The abnormalities were more pronounced in male than female rats, just as autism affects 3-4 times more boys than girls

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