Malpractice News

May 30, 2013

New test predicts postpartum depression

About 15 percent of new mothers are affected by postpartum depression and for years, it has seemed that there is no way to predict who might develop it. That fact might be about to change, however. A new study has found a link between alterations in two genes and a higher propensity for developing postpartum depression.

Blood test can pinpoint genes

A study was published in the May 21 issue of Molecular Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed medical journal. It claimed to have discovered chemical changes that could predict postpartum depression with 85 percent accuracy. These genes can be identified with a simple blood test. Doctors warned, however, that this blood test may not be available for some time as further testing and validating has yet to be done. There has also been discussion about the usefulness of administering such a test.

Benefits of test under review

Dr. Kimberly Yonkers, a professor of obstetrics at Yale School of Medicine, said, “You may unnecessarily worry some women.” On the other hand, Zachary Kaminsky, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University and an author of this study, said, “For some women, knowing they are at risk of postpartum depression can offer a chance to minimize that risk.”

Current screening methods differ

Currently, some doctors diagnose postpartum depression by administering a questionnaire. Others screen for it during newborn checkups. Experts as yet disagree on whether all new moms ought to be checked for symptoms.


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