Perinatal Antidepressant May Affect Brain Development

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Rats exposed to an antidepressant just before and after birth had altered behaviors and substantial brain abnormalities. The findings raise questions about how perinatal antidepressants might influence brain development in people.

Serotonin—a chemical messenger in the brain—plays an important role in brain development. Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by boosting serotonin activity in the brain. However, recent studies have found associations between women taking SSRIs during pregnancy and potential development problems in their offspring, including an increased risk for autism….

NIH Research Matters

National Institute of Health

http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/october2011/10312011antidepressant.htm

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