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Sex as Nature’s Antidepressant?  Diet Soda putting you in the Dumps?  A Dad’s depression affecting an unborn child?

Studies show that diet soda drinkers are more likely to be down in the dumps than regular soda drinkers.

People who drink four cans or more of soda daily are about 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people who don't drink soda. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet soda rather than regular soda.

As well, a controversial new study claims to have identified another unexpected weapon against depression: unprotected sex. Apparently, semen is rich in chemicals that help increase a partner's happiness, mood, and even quality of sleep.

Semen contains a number of "mood-altering chemicals," that help elevate mood and promote affection, serotonin is an antidepressant, and melatonin helps regulate sleep patterns.

Sexually active women who never used condoms showed significantly fewer depressive symptoms and also slept better than women who always or usually used condoms. The findings also indicated that the women in the study who described themselves as "promiscuous" yet regularly used condoms were just as depressed as women who were abstinent. This suggests it is semen, not just sex.

What can the effects of a parent’s depression have on a child’s behavior problems?  

Many previous studies have shown an association between the mother’s mental health during pregnancy and her child’s health later in life; now new research showed that a father’s psychological state may have a significant impact on the child as well.

The study analyzed data from more than 31,000 children along with information about their father’s mental health.  At around 17 or 18 weeks of pregnancy, 3 percent of the children’s fathers reported mental health problems. The children whose fathers reported the most psychological distress were more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems as toddlers.

For parents and physicians, the message should be clear. We need to be aware of depression (in) both parents from the time a pregnancy is realized. Physicians should screen for depression early and often, and make the appropriate referral as soon as it's detected.

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