12 May 2017

Researchers from The University of Queensland are seeking the help of Australian mothers to identify the genetic factors involved in postpartum depression, which will help us understand and develop better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the condition.

For the past year, UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Queensland Brain Institute researcher Professor Naomi Wray and her team have been working with research teams from the United States and United Kingdom to understand why some women get postpartum depression (PPD) and others do not.

To do this, the international research team built the PPD ACT iOS mobile app, which has helped enrol approximately 14,000 women in the global study.

Now, the research team has launched an Android version of the app, which they hope will allow an even larger group of women the opportunity to share their experiences.

Professor Wray encouraged Australian mothers to volunteer for the study and help create change for the 10 per cent of mothers worldwide who are affected by postpartum depression.

“This project will help us understand more about the genetic basis of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis – knowledge that will be critical in developing more effective treatments for millions of women globally,” Professor Wray said. 

“We’re asking women who believe they have experienced postpartum depression after any birth to download the iOS or Android mobile app, PPD ACT, and complete a survey about their experiences with the condition, regardless of how long ago it happened.

“Just 20 minutes of their time could help us develop better treatments for this debilitating condition, and even prevent postpartum disorders from happening in the first place.”

Women whose survey responses show evidence of previous or current postpartum depression will be invited to provide a saliva sample to enable the research team to analyse the DNA samples in greater depth and identity any specific genes that may be associated with the condition. 

The results of the study will also contribute to the Australian Genetics of Depression Study, which is the Australia-wide arm of a groundbreaking international scientific collaboration designed to detect genetic factors that contribute to clinical depression in order to develop better treatments, and, ultimately, find a cure.

To get involved, please download the free PPD ACT app from Google Play or the Apple App Store, visit pactforthecure.com, or email ppd-act@uq.edu.au.

Media: IMB Communications, communications@imb.uq.edu.au, 07 3346 2155, 0439 651 107

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