Another Canadian team focusing on nutrition and maternal mood

A few researchers around the world have focused on nutritions impact on maternal mood.  Here is info on one such research team and their study, which is currently underway.

Brenda Leung is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) by training. Her interest in pure research grew while she was practising as a naturopathic doctor in Surrey, B.C. Intrigued by questions arising in her clinical practice—questions for which she had no answers—she decided on a period of further study. She chose the area of nutrition in maternal mental health as one where she could put her naturopathic experience to good use.

Combining her interests in nutritional epidemiology and mental health, Leung has designed a study to examine the link between nutrition and depression in pregnant women and new mothers. She notes that her work in the mental-health area is filling a gap. “Most nutrition-based studies deal with physical-health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease,” she says. Two aspects of Leung’s work break new ground: her long-term approach to this study of nutrition in depression; and her focus on pregnant women, who are often excluded in such studies.

In 2005 Leung began doctoral work under research psychologist Dr. Bonnie Kaplan in the Department of Pediatrics. Leung’s Ph.D. studies are funded by AHFMR (Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Resarch)and the Alberta Mental Health Board through a new and innovative partnership.

Leung began work on the first stage of this project in September 2006 and plans to have preliminary data by late 2009. Working with a seven-member team, including the directors of three prenatal clinics in Calgary, Leung is recruiting women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy to help her find out whether there is any link between diet and depression. Leung’s study will follow these women throughout their pregnancies and after their children are born. She hopes that it will determine what pregnant women are really eating, and whether there is any connection between certain nutrients (or combinations of nutrients) and mood.



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