Researchers have recently found a blood marker that reveals postpartum depression. The marker in the blood may identify the women who could be at risk to develop postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a disorder that affects around 20 percent of all new mothers, which puts their new born babies at a raised risk of developing poor cognitive, social and behavioral development.
Scientists are aware that the oxytocin hormone, which plays an important and positive role in relationships, mood, lower stress levels, emotional regulation, maternal bonding and healthy birth, also plays a part in postpartum depression, when the women have lower levels of this hormone.
An assistant professor of psychology from the University of Virginia and senior author of the recent study, Jessica Connelly said that they can vastly improve the disorder’s outcome by analyzing markers in the blood that could identify women who could be at risk of developing postpartum depression. Connelly said that the scientists are aware that women who have faced depression before their pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing the disorder in the period postpartum. She also added that even women who have never experienced depression before their pregnancy could develop this. These blood markers they discovered may help to identify those women before they develop depression.
Seeing how oxytocin plays a crucial role in the maternal behavior, the scientists believe that the receptor for oxytocin could also play a role in postpartum depression and found a relation between epigenetic and genetic markers inside the gene that raise the chances of women to develop depression.
Director at the Kinsey Institute from Indiana University and co-author of the recent study, C. Sue Carter said that they know about the role of oxytocin in rodents and their study focuses on the importance of the hormone in humans. The study places the genetic regulation of the hormone receptor right in the front. The researchers stressed the importance of reproducing the discovery in other samples based on population.
Aleeca Bell from the University of Illinois in Chicago and the first author of the study said that their data needs to be reproduced, but their hope is that the receptor marker they found to be useful to doctors in revealing the women who are at risk of developing postpartum depression.
The recent study was published in the Frontiers in Genetics journal.
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