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Bundling HIV Prevention with Prenatal Care Reduces Risky Sex Behaviors Among At-risk Mothers

Science Update

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An HIV-prevention program targeted at women receiving prenatal care may effectively reduce risks for HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unplanned future pregnancies, according to NIMH-funded researchers. Bundling such interventions into existing health care models, like prenatal care, also may be more accessible to those who may not have the time, interest, or resources to attend a stand-alone HIV prevention program. Changing the way prenatal care is provided also may create sustainable advantages in reproductive health for all at-risk women. The study was published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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NIH Encourages Depressed Moms to Seek Treatment for Themselves

Science Update

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Numerous studies have suggested that depression runs in families. Children of depressed parents are 2–3 times as likely to develop depression as compared to children who do not have a family history of the disorder. Other studies have shown that remission of depression in mothers is associated with improvements in psychiatric symptoms in their children. Despite all signs encouraging mothers to prioritize their own mental health, many suffer from untreated depression while managing treatment for their children’s emotional or behavioral problems.

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Premature Birth Risk Higher for Pregnant Women Taking SSRIs or Suffering from Untreated Depression

Science Update

Untreated major depression, as well as the use of antidepressant medications, may increase the risk for premature (preterm) birth, but the risk of other problems in fetuses such as breathing, gastrointestinal, or motor problems, may not be increased, according to a study of pregnant women published online ahead of print March 15, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Brain Awareness Week Teaches Kids How Their Brains Work

Press Release

The 10th annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a science and health education fair held in various locations across the United States, teaches fifth through eighth grade students about the brain. In Washington, D.C., it will take place March 16-20, 2009, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Several institutes from the National Institutes of Health will provide interactive exhibits and lectures focusing on brain health and neuroscience on March 18th and 19th.

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Impaired Brain Activity Underlies Impulsive Behaviors in Women with Bulimia

Science Update

Women with bulimia nervosa (BN), when compared with healthy women, showed different patterns of brain activity while doing a task that required self-regulation. This abnormality may underlie binge eating and other impulsive behaviors that occur with the eating disorder, according to an article published in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Mechanism for Postpartum Depression Found in Mice

Press Release

Researchers have pinpointed a mechanism in the brains of mice that could explain why some human mothers become depressed following childbirth.

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Depression Linked to Bone-Thinning in Premenopausal Women

Press Release

Premenopausal women with even mild depression have less bone mass than do their nondepressed peers, a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), shows.

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Depression Risk Higher in Girls with Low Birth Weight

Science Update

Girls’ risk for developing depression after puberty increased significantly if they had low birth weight, in a study funded in part by NIMH. Yet low birth weight didn’t appear to be just one more risk factor for depression. Rather, it seemed to increase the risk effects of other adversities.

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Brain’s Reward Circuit Activity Ebbs and Flows with a Woman’s Hormonal Cycle

Press Release

Fluctuations in sex hormone levels during women’s menstrual cycles affect the responsiveness of their brains’ reward circuitry, an imaging study at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has revealed.

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College Women at Risk for Eating Disorder May Benefit From Online Intervention

Press Release

A long-term, large-scale study has found that an Internet-based intervention program may prevent some high risk, college-age women from developing an eating disorder.

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Stopping Antidepressant Use While Pregnant May Pose Risks

Science Update

Pregnant women who discontinue antidepressant medications may significantly increase their risk of relapse during pregnancy, a new NIMH-funded study has found.

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Medication and Psychotherapy Treat Depression in Low-Income Minority Women

Press Release

Treatment with medication or psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms in women from minority populations, according to research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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