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WCVB-TV spotlights new UMMS study on post-partum depression

Mom struggled with condition and is taking part in research to help other mothers

On Aug. 20 WCVB-TV featured new mother Nicole Caligiuri and UMass Medical School psychiatrist Kristina Deligiannidis, MD, in a story about post-partum depression and the National Institutes of Health-funded study Dr. Deligiannidis is conducting to find out why women might be susceptible to the disorder.

Twenty-eight-year-old Caligiuri had never been depressed before PPD struck following the birth of her first child. Initially she didn’t realize what was wrong, like many of the one in eight new mothers who develop the disorder. Fortunately, she finally sought treatment and fully recovered.

Then, when her ob/gyn suggested participation could help her avoid another bout of PPD, Caligiuri gladly enrolled in Dr. Deligiannidis’study during her second pregnancy. With the five-year, $900,000 clinical research grant, Deligiannidis is using hormone and brain imaging investigations to learn why women develop post-partum depression.

“The ultimate goal of this research is to identify biological risk factors that put women at an increased chance of developing PPD,” said Deligiannidis, assistant professor of psychiatry. “With early identification, we can develop therapeutic interventions that can help prevent PPD before it begins.”

As a study subject, Caligiuri completed paperwork, had some additional tests done on her routine blood work taken during prenatal check-ups and, several weeks after the birth of her second daughter, completed her involvement with a brain scan.

“I felt much more at ease knowing that I was being monitored because with my first, I felt like I didn’t catch myself early enough, and I let it get really, really bad unnecessarily,” she said. “It’s something a lot of moms struggle with and don’t necessarily seek help for.