Children of older fathers have an increased risk of psychiatric and academic problems, says new cohort study

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Research suggests that the risk of developing psychiatric problems (such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or schizophrenia) may be linked to increased paternal age at the time of conception. This seems quite plausible given that advancing age in men is associated with increased genetic mutations in sperm. However, studies so far have generally not [read the full story...]

Treating antenatal depression could prevent offspring adult depression

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Depression in late adolescence is a major public health concern, not least because it is strongly predictive of persistent, adult depression, which can have a severe effect on socioemotional functioning, education and employment. Increasingly, depression research is turning its attention to the matter of prevention of depression rather than exclusively focusing on treatment options and [read the full story...]

A statistically significant, but small, increased relative risk of learning disabilities in children born via IVF

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In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is used to help people who experience difficulties in conceiving (see NICE’s guideline for information eligibility). It involves fertilising an egg with sperm in the laboratory, before reimplanting the fertilised egg into the woman’s womb to develop as normal. In cases of male infertility, the sperm can be injected directly in to [read the full story...]

Is ‘natural’ better? Evidence for the efficacy of complementary therapies for antenatal depression

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Can we encourage patients to continue taking complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for antenatal depression or should we be firmly discouraging them from doing so? We already know from surveys that 11% of primary care patients with anxiety and depression are taking complementary or alternative therapies, which is around the same proportion of people who [read the full story...]

Common antidepressants associated with increased risk of postpartum haemorrhage

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Postpartum haemorrhages are serious birth complications that represent one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. While incidences of postpartum haemorrhages have risen steadily in the past decades (in the US alone, numbers increased from 2.3% to 2.9% from 1994 to 2006), there is little evidence as to why. Antidepressants – especially selective [read the full story...]

Maternal depression associated with reduced breastfeeding and premature delivery

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We often hear about postnatal depression, a well-recognised depressive episode in mothers occurring after the birth of their baby. However, 54.2% of women suffering from postnatal depression actually developed their depressive symptoms before or during pregnancy  (Burt and Quezada, 2009). Around 10% of pregnant mothers have depression and this number increases each trimester. Women are less likely [read the full story...]

Preventing or reducing domestic violence against pregnant women: more studies desperately needed!

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30% of domestic violence (DV) begins during pregnancy and is most prevalent within the working and lower middle socio-economic classes. It is a major public health concern and abuse during pregnancy is of particular concern due to the health risks to both mother and child. It can cause physical and psychological harm to women, and [read the full story...]

Preventive interventions for postnatal psychosis: an empty/full systematic review

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A highlight for elves in a hurry Preventive interventions for postnatal psychosis1 is a systematic review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013. It aimed to investigate the best available evidence on interventions for preventing Postnatal Psychosis derived from all relevant randomized controlled trials. Unfortunately, no studies were found. Thus, this review [read the full story...]

Maternal antidepressant use in pregnancy may be associated with a small increased risk of autism

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The prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders has risen dramatically in the last thirty years, with recent estimates suggesting that 1 in 88 children in the United States have an autistic spectrum disorder. This increasing prevalence could simply be due to changes in the diagnosis of such disorders and so be of little interest. However, there [read the full story...]

Foetal exposure to sodium valproate is linked with autism risk

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The risks of congenital malformations and impact of cognitive development after foetal exposure to anti-epileptic drugs has been known for some time. Sodium valproate is a frequently used drug for epilepsy and other disorders (including bipolar disorder and migraine). The researchers aimed to examine the link between foetal exposure and subsequent development of autism. Methods [read the full story...]