Friday, June 18, 2010

Research study: The brain science of PPD

The neurobiological mechanisms to explain postpartum blues and the high risk for the onset of postpartum depression in the first few weeks after delivery are unclear. Estrogen levels drop 100- to 1000-fold during the first 3 to 4 days postpartum, and changes in estrogen levels have an inverse relationship with monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) density. However, MAO-A levels have never been measured in the early postpartum period... Rather than a purely psychosocial model, we propose a neurobiological model of estrogen decline, followed by elevated MAO-A binding,low mood, and subsequently a period of high risk for major depressive episodes. Our model has important implications for preventing postpartum depression and for developing therapeutic strategiesthat target or compensate for elevated MAO-A levels during postpartum blues.

Read More at Archives of General Psychiatry