Health scare of the week
Antidepressants and pregnancy
Taking commonly prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy could affect the development of the baby’s brain, reports Reuters.com. Scientists at Columbia University scanned the brains of 98 newborns. The mothers of 16 infants had taken selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—such as Zoloft, Celexa, and Prozac—during pregnancy, while 21 had suffered untreated depression. The others did not suffer from depression. The MRIs showed that the babies who were exposed to an SSRI in utero showed greater volume in the amygdala and the insular cortex, areas of the brain involved in mood regulation and the processing of intense emotions. They also had more connections between these brain regions than the other infants did. Study co-author Jiook Cha says it’s now clear that “SSRI medications have an influence on fetal brain development.” But she cautions that untreated depression is also risky during pregnancy, and that further research is needed.