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Study Finds SSRI Antidepressants Can Affect Newborn Head Size | 24-7-news.com cialis online

Study Finds SSRI Antidepressants Can Affect Newborn Head Size

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A new study has found that SSRI antidepressants can affect the head size of newborns. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) include Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. The new study, in addition to suggesting that SSRIs, such as Paxil and Prozac, could increase the likelihood of women giving birth to babies with reduced head growth, it also found that SSRIs were linked to a two-fold increased risk for preterm birth, said USNews. “Fetal body growth is a marker of fetal health and fetal head growth is a marker for brain development,” lead researcher Hanan El Marroun—a post doctorate fellow in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at Sophia Children’s Hospital and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands—told USNews. “We found prenatal exposure to SSRIs was associated with decreased growth of the head, but not decreased growth of the body,” El Marroun added. El Marroun’s team studied the birth outcomes of nearly 7,700 pregnant women and found that 91% had no or very mild depression symptoms. Of the 7% who had depression symptoms, but were not taking an SSRI, their babies tended to be born with smaller heads and bodies and were born a little later than expected, about one day. A little more than 1% were depressed and took an SSRI while pregnant, USNews wrote; these women tended to give birth to babies with smaller heads, but not smaller bodies. The team found that babies born to mothers whose depression was untreated, gave birth to babies with both reduced growth in the body and in the head. “If the depression is untreated, it affected the whole body; but if the mother used SSRIs, the head growth of the fetus was affected,” El Marroun pointed out “This may mean that smaller head growth is not explained by depression, but by the SSRIs,” she explained, said USNews. The finding reveals that serotonin imbalance could be potentially harmful to the developing fetal brain. Serotonin is a chemical that assists the brain in sending signals from one

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brain area to another; SSRIs target serotonin, USNews explained. “We don’t know what this means for the long-term development of these children,” El Marroun said. It could be that physicians are over-prescribing SSRIs, and alternatives might be available for expectant mothers. “Sometimes depression can be treated without medication,” El Marroun suggests, said USNews. The report appears in the March 5 online edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The researchers point out that fetal head circumference may have something to do with brain weight; babies with small head sizes, from birth to four weeks, may suffer from behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers, said USNews. “We must be careful not to infer an association of SSRI use in pregnancy with future developmental problems,” the researchers noted. The study made an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, cautioned El Marroun.

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