Has identified the first advance blood test for postnatal depression

Has identified the first advance blood test for postnatal depression

Dimitris Grammatopoulos is a Professor of Molecular Medicine in Warwick Medical School, a Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry in the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and holds the Chair of Molecular Medicine at both University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and Warwick Medical School. His areas of specialism include the molecular endocrinology and biomarker discovery of pregnancy-related illnesses.

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression (PND), is a type of clinical depression which can affect both sexes after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability.

Professor Grammatopoulos’ research has proven a genetic variation can lead to women becoming up to five times more likely to suffer from PND. His paper, which has been published by the Journal of Psychiatric Research, was based on his recent study (2013) of 200 pregnant women. He and a team of specialists from the Departments of Obstetrics and Biochemistry identified that an overwhelming majority of women who went on to develop PND had at least one of two molecular signatures – variations in a person’s DNA – which increase the risk of PND.

“At the moment, women only go to their GP once their symptoms are already severe. This new process will help identify, provide early support and if necessary, treatment, and even prevent the illness. This innovative research can lead to development of a new patient pathway. This is a fantastic example of how personalised medicine can transform the way healthcare is delivered.”, Professor Grammatopoulos adds.

Prof. Grammatopoulos has claimed he could test women for the genetic changes for £30-£40, but the cost could be reduced to £10 if the screening system is automated.

Dimitris’ father was a military doctor, and that sure had to do with his future career. He was born in 1966 in the city of Serres, Greece, where he went to school (1st Highschool of Serres, 1978 -1983). He received his Bachelor degree in Chemistry from the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki (1983-1989) and then left Greece in 1990.

Professor Grammatopoulos was trained in Thessaloniki Greece, Newcastle, Bristol and as an MRC Fellow at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore USA. In 1998, he was made a Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of Warwick, a post he held for 10 years, in parallel with his clinical role as a Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry at UHCW. He first introduced DNA analysis for molecular diagnosis at UHCW in 2002.