I'm totally fascinated by epigenetics and just read an interesting article about research that suggests that a blood test may be able to predict which women are more likely to suffer from post-partum depression.
The article says:
The scientists, led by Zachary Kaminsky, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Hopkins, were inspired to look for the genetic changes after studies in mice. They found that estrogen
, which increases during pregnancy, triggers changes in the hippocampus, a region of the brain
that’s responsible for memory and mood, and that two genes were affected in particular. Not much was known about these snippets of DNA, except that they played some role in processes that are important for regulating mood — such as adapting to new environments and reorganizing neural circuits to make such accommodations possible.
It turned out the same genes were affected in women who experienced postpartum depression as well, and Kaminsky and his colleagues believe that the genes made the women more sensitive to the dramatic drop in estrogen that occured after birth. Without the estrogen, the genes may not have been as active, which could have contributed to the depressed mood that these women felt following delivery. Based on the levels of compounds made by these genes that could be picked up in the blood, these two genetic markers predicted with 85% accuracy which pregnant women went on to develop postpartum depression, and which ones did not.
The full article is over at Time.com.
I wonder, as this research progresses, will testing for these genetic markers just become a part of standard prenatal care? What do you think about this? Would you have this tested if you could to know your risk?