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WCH brings popular iPhone app to Canada and expands study on postpartum depression

May 1, 2017

By Sarah Warr

PPD ACTOne year after the successful launch of PPD ACTTM in the U.S. and Australia, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is leading the Canadian launch of the mobile app-based study to help further understanding about the causes of, and treatment for, postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis (PPP).

Studies have found that 10 to 15 per cent of Canadian women have been affected by PPD, which affects both women and their families. However, researchers do not have a complete understanding of the causes of postpartum mental health problems such as PPD and PPP, including why some women are affected and others are not. The PPD ACTTM app was designed to help researchers understand more about the genetics of PPD and PPP to improve detection, prevention and treatment options for these conditions.

“Working alongside colleagues from the U.S., Australia and Europe, we will be using the PPD ACTTM app to gather information to help understand the genetic link of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis,” says Dr. Simone Vigod, principal investigator and psychiatrist, WCH. “Our goal is to use this data to develop preventative strategies and targeted treatments for women who are at risk of developing these mental health challenges.”

The PPD ACTTM app surveys women to identify mothers who have ever experienced symptoms of postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. Women with a history of PPD and PPP will be asked if they would like to provide a DNA sample so that researchers can study the genes of those affected by PPD and PPP. Participants who agree will be sent a home-based saliva collection kit that is mailed back to the research team for analysis. The goal of the research team is to use the participants’ genes to develop treatments for PPD and PPP in the future.

Individuals who are interested in participating in the study can download PPD ACTTM from the iOS App Store or visit www.pactforthecure.com. The study is open to any women in Canada over the age of 18 who have ever given birth.


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