Maternal depression in the postpartum period, & even beyond, is associated with the development of atopic dermatitis throughout childhood & adolescence”
Groundbreaking research conducted by the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and just published in the journal, Dermatitis, indicates that:”postpartum depression and maternal depression in mothers are associated with increased atopic dermatitis [AD], more persistent atopic dermatitis, increased asthma, and/or sleep disturbances in children and adolescents.”
So What Exactly is AD?
This refers to a long-term inflammatory skin disease which involves poor quality sleep, pain and itching. In addition to these symptoms, AD has been associated with various mental health issues including suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression.
Putting a Spotlight on the Research
The study on children and adults, was headed by George Washington University’s associate professor of dermatology, Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH. The team analyzed the connection between atopic dermatitis and postpartum maternal depression, as well as paternal and maternal depression in later childhood. Silverberg carried out the analysis, acquisition, and interpretation of the data, at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Northwestern University, with the help of Costner McKenzie, the study’s first author, who is currently a medical student there.
Silverberg remarked: “We know that emotional factors can exacerbate AD flares and influence the course of the disease. Previous studies have shown that family environment and other environmental factors can [also] have an impact.” The previously undertaken Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, was used by the scientists in order to analyze various data. Ultimately, they determined that postpartum depression was linked to a greater risk of AD development later in childhood; a higher degree of poor sleep among children with AD, and more persistent atopic dermatitis. Silverberg concluded that: “This could potentially suggest more severe AD.”
The Need For More Research
As this cutting-edge study is just the beginning, the scientists note that far more research is required. This will corroborate the links which Silverberg et al., have uncovered; specify inherent mechanisms; and most importantly, pinpoint suitable interventions.
The Need For Screening
The study authors advise that pediatricians: “should consider screening and early intervention for postpartum depression to identify infants at higher risk for AD. Children born to mothers with depression in the postpartum period and beyond may warrant increased screening for AD and atopic disease, as well as use of gentle skin care and other strategies to mitigate AD.” This screening is crucial for children, and the self-care could help negate further trauma.
The GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences
This renowned school, which has done so much to benefit human health and well-being, and is simply known as the GW SMHS, was founded way back in 1824. Indeed, it was the first medical school in Washington, the country’s capital. Moreover, it is classed as the 11th oldest in the nation. The school states that: “Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.”