depression women

Working long hours linked to depression in women

February 25, 2019

Science Daily/University College London

Women who work more than 55 hours a week are at a higher risk of depression but this is not the case for men, according to a new study.

 

The study of over 20,000 adults, published today in the BMJ's Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that after taking age, income, health and job characteristics into account, women who worked extra-long hours had 7.3% more depressive symptoms than women working a standard 35-40 week. Weekend working was linked to a higher risk of depression among both sexes.

 

Women who worked for all or most weekends had 4.6% more depressive symptoms on average compared to women working only weekdays. Men who worked all or most weekends had 3.4% more depressive symptoms than men working only weekdays.

 

"This is an observational study, so although we cannot establish the exact causes, we do know many women face the additional burden of doing a larger share of domestic labour than men, leading to extensive total work hours, added time pressures and overwhelming responsibilities," explained Gill Weston (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care), PhD candidate and lead author of the study.

 

"Additionally women who work most weekends tend to be concentrated in low-paid service sector jobs, which have been linked to higher levels of depression."

 

The study showed that men tended to work longer hours in paid work than women, and having children affected men's and women's work patterns in different ways: while mothers tended to work fewer hours than women without children, fathers tended to work more hours than men without children.

 

Two thirds of men worked weekends, compared with half of women. Those who worked all or most weekends were more likely to be in low skilled work and to be less satisfied with their job and their earnings than those who only worked Monday to Friday or some weekends.

 

Researchers analysed data from the Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). This has been tracking the health and wellbeing of a representative sample of 40,000 households across the UK since 2009.

 

Information about working hours, weekend working, working conditions and psychological distress was collected from 11,215 working men and 12,188 working women between 2010 and 2012. Depressive symptoms such as feeling worthless or incapable were measured using a self-completed general health questionnaire.

 

"Women in general are more likely to be depressed than men, and this was no different in the study," Weston said.

 

"Independent of their working patterns, we also found that workers with the most depressive symptoms were older, on lower incomes, smokers, in physically demanding jobs, and who were dissatisfied at work."

 

She added: "We hope our findings will encourage employers and policy-makers to think about how to reduce the burdens and increase support for women who work long or irregular hours -- without restricting their ability to work when they wish to.

 

"More sympathetic working practices could bring benefits both for workers and for employers -- of both sexes."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225192140.htm

Both obese and anorexic women have low levels of 'feel good' neurosteroid

November 10, 2017

Science Daily/University of Illinois at Chicago

Women at opposite extremes of the weight spectrum have low levels of the neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone, according to new research.

 

Previous research has linked low levels of allopregnanolone -- known to scientists as "allo" -- to depression and anxiety, which are common mood disorders associated with anorexia nervosa and obesity.

 

Allo is a metabolite of the hormone progesterone, one of the two major female hormones (the other being estrogen). Allo binds to receptors for the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. These receptors are also the targets of anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines. Allo works by enhancing the signal produced when GABA binds to its receptor, generally producing a positive mood and feelings of well-being.

 

More than 50 percent of women with anorexia nervosa have depression or anxiety, and 43 percent of adults who are obese have depression.

 

Low levels of allo have been linked to depression and anxiety in numerous previous studies, including people with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. But the chemical -- and its impact on mood -- has not been measured in anorexic or obese women.

 

"We are beginning to see more and more evidence that low allo levels are tightly linked to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mood disorders," said Graziano Pinna, associate professor of psychiatry in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and an author on the paper. "To see that women with anorexia nervosa and obesity have low levels adds to the picture that the role of allo is under-recognized in mood disorders."

 

Pinna's colleagues, led by Dr. Karen Miller, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recruited 12 women with anorexia nervosa and amenorrhea (stopped having their menstrual periods) whose body mass indices were less than 18.5; 12 normal-weight women with BMIs between 19 and 24; and 12 obese women with BMIs at 25 or higher. None of the women had received a diagnosis of depression or ever took antidepressants. The average age of the participants was 26 years old.

 

Participants completed questionnaires to assess for depression and anxiety and had blood drawn. Blood measurements of allo and other hormones were performed by Pinna's lab at the UIC. The lab had previously developed a novel, highly sensitive method technology to detect sex hormones and their metabolites. Pinna's lab is one of only three in the United States performing these measurements, which use gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to pick up extremely small levels of these chemicals in blood serum, saliva and brain tissue.

 

The researchers found that in women with anorexia nervosa and in obese women, blood levels of allo were 50 percent lower than they were in women with normal BMIs, and women who were clinically obese had allo levels approximately 60 percent lower than women with normal weights.

 

The researchers also found that levels of allo in all participants correlated with the severity of their depression and anxiety symptoms as measured by the questionnaires. Participants with lower levels of allo had greater severity of depression symptoms.

 

Progesterone levels were similarly low across all groups, suggesting that the decrease in allo in participants with anorexia nervosa and obesity may have been caused by improper functioning of enzymes responsible for the metabolism of progesterone into allo.

 

"Women with anorexia nervosa had low progesterone because they were amenorrheic, and the other two groups also had low progesterone levels because their blood was taken in the follicular phase when progesterone is naturally low," said Pinna. "That we found that obese women had lower allo levels than normal weight participants adds to growing evidence that this steroid is involved in depression and anxiety regardless of how much progesterone is available to begin with."

 

Pinna believes that the enzymes that convert progesterone into allo may not be working properly, causing decreases in allo that lead to mood disorders. "Drugs that increase the efficacy of these enzymes may be useful in helping to boost allo levels," he said. "But more research is needed to figure out exactly the deficit in the metabolism of progesterone into allo so that precision medicines using allo as a biomarker can be developed."

 

"Depression is an incredibly prevalent problem, especially in women, and also particularly at the extremes of the weight spectrum," said Miller. "The hope is that a greater understanding of mechanisms contributing to these disorders -- including abnormalities in the regulation of hormones and their neuroactive metabolites -- may lead to new targeted therapies in the future."

 

Pinna is leading preclinical studies of drugs designed to boost allo levels using several pharmacological strategies. These drugs have had promising effects in mouse models of PTSD and depression.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171110164029.htm

Why some women are more likely to feel depressed

New study links duration of estrogen exposure with increased vulnerability to depression: Longer exposure to estrogen shown to provide protection

July 19, 2017

Science Daily/The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

It's no secret that the risk of depression increases for women when their hormones are fluctuating. Especially vulnerable times include the menopause transition and onset of postmenopause. There's also postpartum depression that can erupt shortly after childbirth. But why do some women feel blue while others seem to skate through these transitions? One answer is provided through new study results.

 

The article "Lifelong estradiol exposure and risk of depressive symptoms during the transition to menopause and postmenopause" includes data from a study of more than 1,300 regularly menstruating premenopausal women aged 42 to 52 years at study entry. The primary goal of the study was to understand why some women are more vulnerable to depression, even though all women experience hormone fluctuations.

 

Previous studies have suggested a role for reproductive hormones in causing an increased susceptibility to depression. This study focused largely on the effect of estradiol, the predominant estrogen present during the reproductive years. Among other things, estradiol modulates the synthesis, availability, and metabolism of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in depression. Whereas fluctuations of estradiol during the menopause transition are universal, the duration of exposure to estradiol throughout the adult years varies widely among women.

 

A key finding of this study was that longer duration of estrogen exposure from the start of menstruation until the onset of menopause was significantly associated with a reduced risk of depression during the transition to menopause and for up to 10 years postmenopause. Also noteworthy was that longer duration of birth control use was associated with a decreased risk of depression, but the number of pregnancies or incidence of breastfeeding had no association.

 

"Women are more vulnerable to depressive symptoms during and after the menopause transition because of fluctuating hormone changes," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS. "This study additionally found a higher risk for depression in those with earlier menopause, fewer menstrual cycles over lifespan, or more frequent hot flashes. Women and their providers need to recognize symptoms of depression such as mood changes, loss of pleasure, changes in weight or sleep, fatigue, feeling worthless, being unable to make decisions, or feeling persistently sad and take appropriate action."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170719084710.htm

 

Depressed moms not ‘in sync’ with their children

May 5, 2016

Science Daily/Binghamton University, State University of New York

Mothers with a history of depression are not physiologically "in sync" with their kids, according to a new study. While researchers have known for a while that depression is associated with interpersonal problems with others, this is the first study to examine whether this is also evident physiologically.

 

"When people are interacting, sometimes you just feel like you're in sync with somebody, and you know the interaction is going really well and you're enjoying the conversation. We're trying to figure out, at the body level, in terms of your physiology, do you see this synchrony in moms and their kids, and then how is that impacted by depression?" said Brandon Gibb, professor of psychology at Binghamton University and director of the Mood Disorders Institute and Center for Affective Science.

 

Binghamton researchers measured heart rate variability, a physiological measure of social engagement, in children aged 7-11 and their mothers (44 with a history of depression, 50 with no history of depression) while they engaged in positive and negative discussions. In the first discussion, mother-child pairs planned a dream vacation together; in the second discussion, pairs addressed a recent topic of conflict between them (e.g. homework, using the TV or computer, being on time, problems at school, lying, etc.) While moms with no history of depression displayed physiological synchrony (similar increases or decreases in heart rate variability) as their children during negative discussion, depressed moms were not in sync with their children. Furthermore, children and mothers who were more sad during the interaction were more likely to be out of sync with one another. According to researchers, these results provide preliminary evidence that synchrony during interactions is disrupted at the physiological level in families with a history of maternal depression and may be a potential risk factor for the intergenerational transmission of depression.

 

"We found that mothers who had no history of depression were really matching their children's physiology in the moment," said graduate student and lead author of the study Mary Woody. "We saw most moment-to-moment matching in the conflict discussion, in which they were talking about something negative going on in their life. In this difficult discussion, we're seeing this protective physiological mechanism coming out. Whereas, with mothers with a history of depression and their kids, we're seeing the opposite -- they actually mismatched. As one person is getting more engaged, the other person is pulling away. So they were really missing each other in that moment and walking away from the discussion feeling sad."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160505105019.htm

 

Screening for depression recommended for adults, including pregnant and postpartum women

January 26, 2016

Science Daily/The JAMA Network Journals

The US Preventive Services Task Force is recommending screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women, and that screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.

 

This recommendation is a USPSTF grade B recommendation, meaning that there is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate, or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial.

 

Depression is among the leading causes of disability in persons 15 years and older. It affects individuals, families, businesses, and society and is common in patients seeking care in the primary care setting, and also common in postpartum and pregnant women. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed the evidence in the medical literature on the benefits and harms of screening for depression in adult populations, including older adults and pregnant and postpartum women; the accuracy of depression screening instruments; and the benefits and harms of depression treatment in these populations. The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of experts that makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. This report is an update of a 2009 USPSTF recommendation statement. The USPSTF continues to recommend that adults 18 and older be screened for depression.

 

Detection, and Benefits of Early Detection, Intervention and Treatment

 

The USPSTF found convincing evidence that screening improves the accurate identification of adult patients with depression in primary care settings, including pregnant and postpartum women, and found adequate evidence that programs combining depression screening with adequate support systems in place improve clinical outcomes (i.e., reduction or remission of depression symptoms) in adults, including pregnant and postpartum women. The USPSTF found convincing evidence that treatment of adults and older adults with depression identified through screening in primary care settings with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both decreases clinical morbidity. The USPSTF also found adequate evidence that treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) improves clinical outcomes in pregnant and postpartum women with depression.

 

Harms of Early Detection, Intervention and Treatment

 

The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the magnitude of harms of screening for depression in adults is small to none and that the magnitude of harms of treatment with CBT in postpartum and pregnant women is small to none. The USPSTF found that second-generation antidepressants (mostly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) are associated with some harms, such as an increase in suicidal behaviors in adults age 18 to 29 years and an increased risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in adults older than 70 years, with risk increasing with age; however, the magnitude of these risks is, on average, small. The USPSTF also found evidence of potential serious fetal harms from pharmacologic treatment of depression in pregnant women, but the likelihood of these serious harms is low. Therefore, the USPSTF concludes that the overall magnitude of harms is small to moderate.

 

Screening

 

The optimal timing and interval for screening for depression is not known. A pragmatic approach might include screening all adults who have not been screened previously and using clinical judgment in consideration of risk factors, comorbid conditions, and life events to determine if additional screening of high-risk patients is warranted. Positive screening results should lead to additional assessment that considers severity of depression and comorbid psychological problems, alternate diagnoses, and medical conditions.

 

Treatment and Interventions

 

Effective treatment of depression in adults generally includes antidepressants or specific psychotherapy approaches, alone or in combination. Given the potential harms to the fetus and newborn child from certain pharmacologic agents, clinicians are encouraged to consider evidence-based counseling interventions when managing depression in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

 

USPSTF Assessment

 

The USPSTF concludes with at least moderate certainty that there is a moderate net benefit to screening for depression in adults 18 years and older, including older adults, who receive care in clinical practices that have adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up after screening. The USPSTF also concludes with at least moderate certainty that there is a moderate net benefit to screening for depression in pregnant and postpartum women who receive care in clinical practices that have CBT or other evidence-based counseling available after screening.

 

Editorial: Recommendations for Screening for Depression in Adults

 

Michael E. Thase, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, comments on the USPSTF recommendations in an accompanying editorial.

 

"Until there are better methods to match patients with specific forms of treatment, the best hope to improve on a B grade for patients with depression may be to adapt care systems to respond more flexibly and decisively to key events that are associated with nonadherence or treatment failure. For example, if the clinicians working within a collaborative care model could rapidly incorporate the information that an initial prescription was not filled or was not refilled, it may be possible to diminish the chances that nonadherence will compromise treatment outcome."

 

"Likewise, given evidence that nonresponse is predicted by a lack of symptom improvement during the first 14 days of therapy, web-based monitoring of symptoms early in the course of therapy may enable physicians and other mental health professionals to intervene more rapidly and reduce the chances of treatment failure. The same approach to ongoing care could be used to facilitate a more timely transition through treatment algorithms and more expeditious referral to specialty care."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160126125228.htm

Forgiving others protects women from depression, but not men

Results may help counselors develop gender-appropriate interventions

September 1, 2015

Science Daily/University of Missouri-Columbia

Researchers studied how different facets of forgiveness affected aging adults' feelings of depression. The researchers found older women who forgave others were less likely to report depressive symptoms regardless of whether they felt unforgiven by others. Older men, however, reported the highest levels of depression when they both forgave others and felt unforgiven by others. The researchers say their results may help counselors of older adults develop gender-appropriate interventions since men and women process forgiveness differently.

 

Forgiveness is a complex process, one often fraught with difficulty and angst. Now, researchers in the University of Missouri College of Human Environmental Sciences studied how different facets of forgiveness affected aging adults' feelings of depression. The researchers found older women who forgave others were less likely to report depressive symptoms regardless of whether they felt unforgiven by others. Older men, however, reported the highest levels of depression when they both forgave others and felt unforgiven by others. The researchers say their results may help counselors of older adults develop gender-appropriate interventions since men and women process forgiveness differently.

 

"It doesn't feel good when we perceive that others haven't forgiven us for something," said Christine Proulx, study co-author and an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. "When we think about forgiveness and characteristics of people who are forgiving -- altruistic, compassionate, empathetic -- these people forgive others and seem to compensate for the fact that others aren't forgiving them. It sounds like moral superiority, but it's not about being a better person. It's 'I know that this hurts because it's hurting me,' and those people are more likely to forgive others, which appears to help decrease levels of depression, particularly for women."

 

Proulx and lead author Ashley Ermer, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, analyzed data from the Religion, Aging, and Health Survey, a national survey of more than 1,000 adults ages 67 and older. Survey participants answered questions about their religion, health and psychological well-being.

 

Proulx said they studied forgiveness among an older population because of the tendency among older individuals to reflect on their lives, especially their relationships and transgressions, both as wrongdoers and as those who had experienced wrongdoing.

 

"As people get older, they become more forgiving," Ermer said. "Our population also predominately was Christian, which may influence individuals' willingness to forgive and could function differently among individuals with different beliefs."

 

The researchers found men and women who feel unforgiven by others are somewhat protected against depression when they are able to forgive themselves. Yet, the researchers said they were surprised to find that forgiving oneself did not more significantly reduce levels of depression.

 

"Self-forgiveness didn't act as the protector against depression," Proulx said. "It's really about whether individuals can forgive other people and their willingness to forgive others."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150901135117.htm

Longevity hormone is lower in stressed, depressed women

June 16, 2015

Science Daily/University of California - San Francisco

Women under chronic stress have significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates aging and enhances cognition, researchers have found in a study comparing mothers of children on the autism spectrum to low-stress controls.

 

The researchers found that the women in their study with clinically significant depressive symptoms had even lower levels of klotho in their blood than those who were under stress but not experiencing such symptoms.

 

The study, published June 16, in Translational Psychiatry, is the first to show a relationship between psychological influences and klotho, which performs a wide variety of functions in the body.

 

"Our findings suggest that klotho, which we now know is very important to health, could be a link between chronic stress and premature disease and death," said lead author, Aric Prather, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF. "Since our study is observational, we cannot say that chronic stress directly caused lower klotho levels, but the new connection opens avenues of research that converge upon aging, mental health, and age-related diseases."

 

Scientists know from their work in mice and worms that, when klotho is disrupted, it promotes symptoms of aging, such as hardening of the arteries and the loss of muscle and bone, and when klotho is made more abundant, the animals live longer.

 

In previous work, senior author Dena Dubal, MD, PhD, showed that a genetic variant carried by one in five people is associated with having more klotho in the bloodstream, better cognitive function and a larger region of the prefrontal cortex. Carriers also tend to live longer and have lower rates of age-related disease. Dubal and colleagues found that increasing klotho in mice boosted their cognition and increased resilience to Alzheimer-related toxins, suggesting a therapeutic role for klotho in the brain.

 

The current study included 90 high-stress caregivers and 88 low-stress controls, most of whom were in their 30s and 40s and otherwise healthy. Klotho is known to decline with age, but in this cross-sectional study of relatively young women, this decline only happened among the high-stress women. The low-stress women did not show a significant reduction in klotho with aging.

 

"Chronic stress transmits risk for bad health outcomes in aging, including cardiovascular and Alzheimer's disease," said Dubal, an assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Neurology and the David A. Coulter Endowed Chair in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease. "It will be important to figure out if higher levels of klotho can benefit mind and body health as we age. If so, therapeutics or lifestyle interventions that increase the longevity hormone could have a big impact on people's lives."

 

The researchers hypothesized that lower levels of klotho could contribute to stress and depression, since klotho acts on a variety of cellular, molecular and neural pathways that link to stress and depression.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150616155903.htm

Impact of domestic violence on women's mental health

March 31, 2015

Science Daily/University of Montreal

In addition to their physical injuries, women who are victims of domestic violence are also at a greater risk of mental health problems such as depression and psychotic symptoms. "We studied the impact of domestic violence on the risk of mental health problems, particularly depression," explained the first study author. "We also studied the role of certain factors from the victims' personal history, such as childhood abuse and economic poverty," she explained.

 

"We studied the impact of domestic violence on the risk of mental health problems, particularly depression," explained Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, first study author and a researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal. "We also studied the role of certain factors from the victims' personal history, such as childhood abuse and economic poverty," explained Ms. Ouellet-Morin, who is also a professor at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal.

 

1,052 mothers participated in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study over 10 years. Only subjects with no previous history of depression were considered for the study. Over this decade, the researchers conducted multiple interviews to determine whether the subjects had suffered violence from their spouses and whether they suffered from mental health disorders.

 

Results

 

  • ·      More than one third of the women reported suffering violence from their spouses (e.g., being pushed or hit with an object).
  • ·      These women had a more extensive history of childhood abuse, abuse of illicit substances, economic poverty, early pregnancy, and an antisocial personality.
  • ·      They were twice as likely to suffer from depression, even when controlling for the impact of childhood abuse.
  • ·      Domestic violence had an impact not just on mood but on other mental health aspects as well. These women had a three times higher risk of developing schizophrenia-like psychotic symptoms. This risk doubled for women who were also victims of childhood abuse.

 

"Domestic violence is unacceptable because of the injuries it causes. We have shown that these injuries are not only physical: they can also be psychological, as they increase the risk of depression and psychotic symptoms," added Louise Arseneault, a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London. "Health professionals need to be very aware of the possibility that women who experience mental health problems may also be the victims of domestic violence and vice versa. Given the prevalence of depression in these victims, we need to prevent these situations and take action. These acts of violence do more than leave physical damage; they leave psychological scars as well," concluded Dr. Arseneault.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150331074443.htm

 

Low vitamin D levels, depression linked in young women

March 18, 2015

Science Daily/Oregon State University

There is a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depression in otherwise healthy young women, a new study shows.

 

OSU researchers found that young women with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have clinically significant depressive symptoms over the course of a five-week study, lead author David Kerr said. The results were consistent even when researchers took into account other possible explanations, such as time of year, exercise and time spent outside.

 

"Depression has multiple, powerful causes and if vitamin D is part of the picture, it is just a small part," said Kerr, an associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU. "But given how many people are affected by depression, any little inroad we can find could have an important impact on public health."

 

The findings were published recently in the journal Psychiatry Research. Co-authors are Sarina Saturn of the School of Psychological Science; Balz Frei and Adrian Gombart of OSU's Linus Pauling Institute; David Zava of ZRT Laboratory and Walter Piper, a former OSU student now at New York University.

 

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone health and muscle function. Deficiency has been associated with impaired immune function, some forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease, said Gombart, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics, principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and international expert on vitamin D and the immune response.

 

People create their own vitamin D when their skin is exposed to sunlight. When sun is scarce in the winter, people can take a supplement, but vitamin D also is found in some foods, including milk that is fortified with it, Gombart said. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 IU per day. There is no established level of vitamin D sufficiency for mental health.

 

The new study was prompted in part because there is a widely held belief that vitamin D and depression are connected, but there is not actually much scientific research out there to support the belief, Kerr said.

 

"I think people hear that vitamin D and depression can change with the seasons, so it is natural for them to assume the two are connected," he said.

 

According to Kerr and his colleagues, a lot of past research has actually found no association between the two, but much of that research has been based on much older adults or special medical populations.

 

Kerr's study focused on young women in the Pacific Northwest because they are at risk of both depression and vitamin D insufficiency. Past research found that 25 percent of American women experience clinical depression at some point in their lives, compared to 16 percent of men, for example.

 

OSU researchers recruited 185 college students, all women ages 18-25, to participate in the study at different times during the school year. Vitamin D levels were measured from blood samples and participants completed a depression symptom survey each week for five weeks.

 

Many women in the study had vitamin D levels considered insufficient for good health, and the rates were much higher among women of color, with 61 percent of women of color recording insufficient levels, compared to 35 percent of other women. In addition, more than a third of the participants reported clinically significant depressive symptoms each week over the course of the study.

 

"It may surprise people that so many apparently healthy young women are experiencing these health risks," Kerr said.

 

As expected, the women's vitamin D levels depended on the time of year, with levels dropping during the fall, at their lowest in winter, and rising in the spring. Depression did not show as a clear pattern, prompting Kerr to conclude that links between vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression should be studied in larger groups of at-risk individuals.

 

Researchers say the study does not conclusively show that low vitamin D levels cause depression. A clinical trial examining whether vitamin D supplements might help prevent or relieve depression is the logical next step to understanding the link between the two, Kerr said.

 

OSU researchers already have begun a follow-up study on vitamin D deficiency in women of color. In the meantime, researchers encourage those at risk of vitamin D deficiency to speak with their doctor about taking a supplement.

 

"Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available." Kerr said. "They certainly shouldn't be considered as alternatives to the treatments known to be effective for depression, but they are good for overall health."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150318145501.htm

Biomarker in pregnant women linked to depression, low fetal birth weight

January 12, 2017

Science Daily/Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Depression is very common during pregnancy, with as many as one in seven women suffering from the illness and more than a half million women impacted by postpartum depression in the U.S. alone. The disorder not only affects the mother’s mood, but has also been linked to influencing the newborn’s development, according to recent research. In a study, researchers found that BDNF levels change during pregnancy, and can cause depression in the mother and low birth weight in the baby.
    
Lower blood levels of a biomarker called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been associated with depression in multiple studies, mainly in non-pregnant adults.

Now, in a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, research from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that BDNF levels change during pregnancy, and can cause depression in the mother and low birth weight in the baby.

"Our research shows BDNF levels change considerably across pregnancy and provide predictive value for depressive symptoms in women, as well as poor fetal growth. It's notable that we observed a significant difference in BDNF in women of different races," said Lisa M. Christian, an associate professor of psychiatry in the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center and principal investigator of the study.

Researchers took blood serum samples during and after pregnancy from 139 women and observed that BDNF levels dropped considerably from the first through the third trimesters, and subsequently increased at postpartum. Overall, black women exhibited significantly higher BDNF than white women during the perinatal period.

Controlling for race, lower BDNF levels at both the second and third trimesters predicted greater depressive symptoms in the third trimester. In addition, women delivering low versus healthy weight infants showed significantly lower BDNF in the third trimester, but didn't differ in depressive symptoms at any point during pregnancy, which suggests separate effects.

"The good news is there are some good ways to address the issue," Christian said. "Antidepressant medications have been shown to increase BDNF levels. This may be appropriate for some pregnant women, but is not without potential risks and side effects."

"Luckily, another very effective way to increase BDNF levels is through exercise," she said." With approval from your physician, staying physically active during pregnancy can help maintain BDNF levels, which has benefits for a woman's mood, as well as for her baby's development."

Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170112113843.htm

Sleep disorders affect men and women differently

Women are more likely to feel tired and depressed than men

May 23, 2017

Science Daily/American Academy of Sleep Medicine
A new study suggests that men and women are affected differently by sleep disorders. Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a higher degree of difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a higher degree of difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

"We found that females were more likely to have sleeping disorders associated with daytime sleepiness," said co-author Dr. John Malouf, founder of SleepGP sleep clinic in Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia. "Females were also likely to feel more affected by the burden of their symptoms."

The main purpose of the study was to understand the differences in functional status between the sexes when they present to primary care providers with sleep problems.

"What was surprising about the results was that while men and women tended to present at a similar age, their symptoms and the effect on their lives differed markedly," said lead author Allegra Boccabella, research associate at SleepGP clinic. "We didn't expect there to be differences across the board in terms of the different aspects of people's lives."

Study results are published in the May 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Boccabella and Malouf conducted a retrospective clinical audit of 744 patients who received sleep-related health care from 7 private general practices in Australia between April 2013 and January 2015. Patients completed a variety of sleep-related questionnaires, including the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Snoring Severity Scale (SSS), and the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire 10.

According to the authors, understanding how the symptoms reported by women differ from those of men can help medical professionals manage sleep disorders more holistically.

"If we can identify the ways that their lives are affected, we can help produce better outcomes for the patient," said Boccabella.

Science Daily/SOURCE :https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523081838.htm

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