News and Research

Sex Differences in the Network Mediating Fear Learning and Extinction

With implications for anxiety disorders, substantial data indicate that structural, cellular, and molecular differences exist between the male and female brain regions, specifically the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex, important for cognition, memory, and affect. (Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders. 2012, 2:3) Read more.

FDA Update: SSRI Use During Pregnancy

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has reviewed new study results on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by pregnant women regarding the potential risk of the rare heart and lung condition persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN. The agency finds that it’s premature to reach any conclusion about a link between SSRI use in pregnancy and PPHN. FDA will update the SSRI drug labels to reflect the new data. Read more. 

Early-Pregnancy Stress May Lead to Decline in Male Births

A study investigating the effect on pregnant women of the stress caused by the 2005 Tarapaca earthquake in Chile, suggest that during the second and third months of pregnancy stress may shorten pregnancies, increase the risk of preterm births, and affect the ratio of boys (fewer) to girls being born. (Human Reproduction, published online December 7, 2011) Read more.

Prenatal Experience Holds Clues to Later Risk of Depression

Factors of fetal development may help identify offspring, particularly females, who are susceptible to the co-occurrence of major depression and cardiovascular disease decades alter, according to a study presented at the 2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference. (These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.) Read more.

Female Vets: Greater Likelihood of Suicide

The suicide rate among young (18 to 34 age group) female U.S. military veterans is nearly three times higher than among civilian women, a new study has found. Clinicians should inquire about military service among women and should recognize that suicide-prevention practices pertain to female veterans. (Psychiatric Services, 61:1177, December 2010) Read more. 

Antidepressant Helps Menopausal Depression

An antidepressant can alleviate symptoms of major depression in women experiencing or about to experience menopause, according to a recent study. Women may respond to antidepressants differently from men and may also respond to medication differently at other times in their lives. (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2010;71(8):1088–1096) Read more.

Co-Occurrence of PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder Magnifies Impairment

Women diagnosed with PTSD and borderline personality disorder are more significantly impaired than women with either condition alone. The recent study suggests that among other recommendations, targeted PTSD treatment may be necessary for long-term improvement. (American Journal of Psychiatry, published online Sept.1, 2010) Read more.

Risks Associated With Antidepressants

Some antidepressants increase risks of cataracts (American Academy of Ophthalmology , June 3, 2010) and miscarriage (Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2010 ), and should be avoided by women taking tamoxifen (Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28(16), June 1, 2010: 2768-2776).

Novel Therapeutic Approach for African American Women

An ongoing study of anxiety and fear among African-American women shows positive responses to “Sister Circles,” discussion groups in social settings familiar to the black community.  Black women in the U.S. are affected by multiple, often contradictory stereotypes, which can lead to stress and anxiety. (Psychiatric News, April 2, 2010; 45(7): 13) Read more.

PTSD: Women in Their Fifties More Prone Than Men

Researchers in Denmark found that men are most vulnerable to PTSD between the ages of 41–45 years, but women are most vulnerable between ages 51–55. The total prevalence of PTSD was 21.3%, and the disorder was twice as common in women as in men, but men and women peaked in the risk of PTSD a decade apart from each other during their life spans. (Annals of General Psychiatry, 2010, 9:32) Read more.  

Stress-Related Sex Differences

A study in rats reveals gender differences in the brain’s stress response that could shed light on women's propensity toward mood and anxiety disorders. Female rat brain cells were more sensitive to a key stress hormone than those of males, which could adapt to the hormone in a way female cells couldn't. (Molecular Psychiatry, published online June 15, 2010) Read more. 

Biological Reason for Higher Anxiety and Depression in Women

Neuroscience researchers have found that females are more sensitive to low levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that organizes stress responses in mammals, making them twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders. (Molecular Psychiatry, published online June 15, 2010) Read more.  

Anxiety in Adult Women With Celiac Disease

A study in Germany shows that female adults following a gluten-free diet for celiac disease show higher levels of anxiety than do members of the general population. The prevalence of a probably anxiety disorder in people with celiac were 16.8%. (World Journal of Gastroenterology, 14 June 2010; 16(22):2780-7) Read more.   

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