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Emerging Risk Factors Identified for Postpartum Depression

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Emerging risk factors for postpartum depression include the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) genotype and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) status, both of which may interact to affect risk, according to a review published in the November issue of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Gabriel D. Shapiro, M.P.H., from the University of Montreal, and colleagues reviewed the literature and identified 75 studies related to postpartum depression, nutrition, n-3 PUFAs, and 5-HTT genotype.

The researchers found that associations between the 5-HTT genotype and postpartum depression were reported in three studies. Accumulating evidence suggests that n-3 PUFA intake correlates with the risk of postpartum depression. Preliminary evidence is suggestive of an interaction between these risk factors.

"Because it can be reasonably hypothesized that the 5-HTT genotype and n-3 PUFAs impact on the risk of postpartum depression, in part through the same mechanism, studying them jointly would present an opportunity to advance our understanding of how genetic and dietary exposures may interact in the etiology of postpartum depression," the authors write. "Knowledge garnered from this effort has the potential to improve the prediction, prevention, and treatment of this significant public health problem."

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