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Transl Psychiatry. 2018 Nov 29;8(1):260. doi: 10.1038/s41398-018-0305-5.

PPD ACT: an app-based genetic study of postpartum depression.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. guinti@email.unc.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
3
Center for Health Innovation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
4
Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
5
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
6
QIMR Berghofer Institute for Medical Research, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
7
Parent-Infant Research Institute and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
8
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
9
Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most frequent complications of childbirth and particularly is suited to genetic investigation as it is more homogenous than major depression outside of the perinatal period. We developed an iOS app (PPD ACT) to recruit, consent, screen, and enable DNA collection from women with a lifetime history of PPD to sufficiently power genome-wide association studies. In 1 year, we recruited 7344 women with a history of PPD and have biobanked 2946 DNA samples from the US. This sample of PPD cases was notably severely affected and within 2 years of their worst episode of PPD. Clinical validation was performed within a hospital setting on a subset of participants and recall validity assessed 6-9 months after initial assessment to ensure reliability of screening tools. Here we detail the creation of the PPD ACT mobile app including design, ethical, security, and deployment considerations. We emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration to correctly implement such a research project. Additionally, we describe our ability to customize the PPD ACT platform to deploy internationally in order to collect a global sample of women with PPD.

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