With mothers and medical providers clamoring for answers about postpartum depression, scientists are starting a major effort to understand the genetic underpinnings of mood disorders that afflict millions of women during and after pregnancy. Researchers led by a University of North Carolina team will use a new iPhone app to recruit women who have had postpartum depression. The team’s theory is that postpartum depression may be distinct, involving genes with more identifiable effects because they act during or soon after pregnancy.
The free app, PPD ACT, will be offered for this research. “To make sure this is not just a study of iPhone-using people,” Dr. Meltzer-Brody said, iPad versions of the app will be available and patients who want to provide their DNA will “right then and there be offered a spit kit.”This Research Kit software will be used for medical data collection, poses questions about sadness, anxiety or panic after childbirth in an effort to assess whether women have experienced serious postpartum depression. Women with high scores are asked if they want to submit DNA; if so, they will be mailed a kit to donate their saliva. Names and email addresses will be required, Dr. Meltzer-Brody said, but the project will encrypt personal data.
This article caught my attention because postpartum depression is a common everyday issue for women all around the country. This study can help and benefit so many women. I hope to read more about this study in the future. Postpartum depression is a serious illness and the fact that researchers are are starting to understand the genetic underpinnings of mood disorders is such a blessing.