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Improvement in Infant Brain Function by Treating Postpartum Depression

by Anjanee Sharma on January 21, 2021 at 4:22 PM
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Improvement in Infant Brain Function by Treating Postpartum Depression

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Treatment of mothers with postpartum depression using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) led to adaptive changes in the brains and the behavior of their infants.

The nervous and cardiovascular systems of the infants were observed to have healthy changes, and both mother and father reported that the infants were able to better regulate their emotions and behavior.

Senior author Ryan Van Lieshout states "In fact, we found that after their moms were treated that their infant's brain activity normalized to the levels seen in our healthy infants." He continues that it is well-known that children of mothers with postpartum depression have changes in brain functioning that increase the risk for developing emotional and behavioral problems in the future. Whether treatment of the mothers could result in the reversal of these changes was not known before.

He adds "We believe that this is the first time that anyone has shown that treating moms' postpartum depression can lead to healthy changes in the physiology of the brains of their infants, a finding that we think provides a lot of good news."

In the study, 40 mothers with postpartum depression were given nine weeks of group CBT. Their infants were matched on infant age, gender, and socioeconomic status with 40 other infants with non-depressed mothers. The infants were tested before and after the treatment of their mothers, which also included a questionnaire on their behavior as reported by the mother and her partner.

Lieshout believes that this study shows that CBT could reduce the intergenerational transmission of risk from mother to child. CBT as a treatment option is short, cost-effective, and generally preferred by women.

Source: Medindia
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