One in eight pregnant women suffer depression

Researchers say postnatal depression is widely discussed, but antenatal depression is as common, at a prevalence of between 12 and 18 percent, compared to between 13 and 19 percent for postnatal depression, according to international studies. Radio New Zealand News

K Waldie et al Depression symptoms during pregnancy: Evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand Journal of Affective Disorders 2105

 

Happiness spreads but depression doesn’t

A study found that the relationship between people’s happiness extends as far as three degrees of separation – to the friends of friends’ friends. The effects were stronger with geographical proximity – a happy nextdoor neighbour increases the likelihood that you will be happy by just over a third. Guardian

James H Fowler and Nicholas A Christakis Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study BMJ 2008;337

Having friends who suffer from depression doesn’t affect the mental health of others, according to research. Eureka Alert

E. M. Hill, F. E. Griffiths, T. House Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks The Royal Society 2105

 

 

Biomarker link found to postpartum depression

A group of researchers was able to identify associations between particular genes and the development of postpartum depression (PPD) that can help to identify those who have high risks and would need extra postpartum care. Tech Times

AF Bell et al (2015) Interaction between oxytocin receptor DNA methylation and genotype is associated with risk of postpartum depression in women without depression in pregnancy Frontiers in Genetics

 

Faulty prospection may be the core process underlying depression

Prospection: the mental representation of possible futures. A negative view of the future is typically seen as one symptom of depression, but researchers suggest that such negative prospection is the core causal element of depression.

Their meta analysis suggests that three kinds of faulty prospection, taken together, could drive depression:

  1. Poor generation of possible futures
  2. Poor evaluation of possible futures
  3. Negative beliefs about the future

Depressed mood and poor functioning, in turn, may maintain faulty prospection and feed a vicious cycle.

The researchers suggest that future-oriented treatment strategies drawn from cognitive-behavioural therapy help to fix poor prospection.

Roepke, A. M. and Seligman, M. E. P. (2015), Depression and prospection. British Journal of Clinical Psychology

 

Neuroscience helps explain rumination

New research examines the brain mechanisms behind rumination, focusing mainly on the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC) in the brain and another area in the brain, the default mode network (DMN), which is typically associated with reflection. The researchers explored how the relationships between these brain regions were tied to depressive ruminations.

They reviewed existing studies, and found that these depressive ruminations were more likely to appear in depressed patients when the sgPFC’s activation was closely coordinated with that of the DMN. This connectivity is what increases ruminating thoughts, the authors concluded. Medical Daily

Hamilton J, Farmer M, Fogelman P, Gotlib I. Depressive Rumination, the Default-Mode Network, and the Dark Matter of Clinical Neuroscience Biological Psychiatry, 2015

 

Socratic questioning helps depression

Study is the first to show that depressed patients see substantial improvements in their depressive symptoms when their therapists use a technique called “Socratic questioning”. Science Daily

Justin D. Braun, Daniel R. Strunk, Katherine E. Sasso, Andrew A. Cooper. Therapist use of Socratic questioning predicts session-to-session symptom change in cognitive therapy for depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2015; 70: 32