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Screenshot 2023-05-22 alle 18.06_edited.

 The project
HappyMums is designed to improve our understanding on the biological mechanisms underlying the development of depressive symptoms in pregnancy, and the efficacy of possible therapeutic interventions

HappyMums will interrogate a large collection of cohorts with multiple biological, medical, clinical, socio-demographic and environmental and lifestyle data to identify the most important risk factors for depressive symptoms in pregnancy, but also  possible moderators of the risk.

By putting together unique human samples of maternal blood, placenta, chorionic villi and amniotic fluid, and animal models, HappyMums aims to improve our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying depressive symptoms in pregnancy. The hypothesis is that these mechanisms then lead to alterations in the foetal environment, shaping offspring risk for developing less optimal developmental outcomes. The use of three complimentary rodent models will allow to achieve a proof of causality, and the presence of an innovative fish model will elucidate the mechanisms specific to placenta by which adverse maternal conditions are transmitted to the offspring without the potentially mitigating effects of compensatory postnatal maternal care. This knowledge will allow the identification of new targets for the development of novel medications, for the repurposing of existing medications or for the development of non-pharmacological interventions. HappyMums will also develop a digital platform where AI tools-based data can be collected, together with biological, clinical, medical, environmental and lifestyle data, through a mobile phone App that will be at the interface with clinicians via a dedicated dashboard. This will allow early screening of depressive symptoms, prompt diagnoses, personalized treatments, and the promotion of protective lifestyle attitudes. Overall, HappyMums will not only increase the knowledge in the field of mental disorders in pregnancy, but also improve the wellbeing of women experiencing antenatal depression, providing unprecedented benefits also to the offspring and thus to society at large.

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