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Women’s College Hospital brings popular ResearchKit iPhone App to Canada and expands study on postpartum depression

Mobile app-based study, PPD ACT, helping to further understanding of why some women experience postpartum depression.

April 27, 2017  |  Download Release

TORONTO, April 27, 2017 – One 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 app 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, built using Apple’s ResearchKit, 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 research team will use participants’ genes to develop treatments for PPD and PPP in the future.

Approximately 14,000 women in the U.S. and Australia have already enrolled in the iPhone-based research study, uniquely designed for rapid collection of genetic samples to find and analyze trends. The overall goal is to gather 100,000 samples from around the globe through continued expansion of the PPD ACTTM app.

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



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About Women’s College Hospital

For more than 100 years Women’s College Hospital (WCH) has been developing revolutionary advances in healthcare. Today, WCH is a world leader in the health of women and Canada’s leading, academic ambulatory hospital. A champion of health equity, WCH advocates for the health of all women from diverse cultures and backgrounds and ensures their needs are reflected in the care they receive. It focuses on delivering innovative solutions that address Canada’s most pressing issues related to population health, patient experience and system costs. The WCH Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV) is developing new, scalable models of care that deliver improved outcomes for patients and sustainable solutions for the health system as a whole.

Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) is tackling some of the greatest health challenges of our time. Its scientists are conducting global research that advances the health of women and improves healthcare options for all, and are then translating those discoveries to provide much-needed improvements in healthcare worldwide.

For more information about how WCH and WCRI are transforming patient care, visit www.womenscollegehospital.ca and www.womensresearch.ca

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