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Depression is estimated to affect as many as 13% of women during pregnancy, most commonly during the second and third trimesters. Iron deficiency is also common during pregnancy, and, although it has been associated with depression in the general population, iron deficiency has never been evaluated in relation to antenatal depression. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario conducted a retrospective chart analysis to evaluate the association between iron deficiency and maternal depression in mid to late pregnancy.

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, published in 2017 in the journal Phytomedicine, aimed to evaluate the anti-depressant effect of saffron (Crocus sativus) in breastfeeding mothers with postpartum depression. The study was conducted in Iran, a country where an estimated 25% of mothers experience postpartum depression and where approximately 90% of the world’s saffron originates.  

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a mediating effect on inflammation and therefore might modulate the risk of allergic disease. Relying on data from a longitudinal birth cohort study in Sweden, researchers investigated whether omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs in plasma phospholipids at the age of 8 influenced the risk of asthma, rhinitis, and aeroallergen sensitization up to age 16.

Vitamin D influences calcium absorption, fracture risk, and muscle function. Low levels of vitamin D may increase susceptibility to injury by adversely affecting muscle contractility and causing muscle fiber atrophy. A study published in The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery in 2017 evaluated the association between serum vitamin D level and the prevalence of lower extremity muscle strains and core muscle injuries in elite level college athletes at the annual NFL Scouting Combine.

Fish are an important dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the growth and development of neuronal tissue and have demonstrated cognitive benefits across the lifespan. Omega-3 fatty acids also modulate sleep via melatonin and prostaglandin production, and fish consumption is associated with improved sleep in epidemiological studies. 

Meta-analyses evaluating nutrient levels in patients with long-term schizophrenia have identified deficiencies in folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin D. Whether these deficiencies precede psychosis or result from disease progression and medication side-effects is not known. First-episode psychosis is considered a critical period of disease, when inflammation and oxidative stress are at a high point, the process of neuroprogression is most active, and antipsychotic medications that cause metabolic dysfunction are initiated.

Fish and seafood provide essential omega-3 fatty acids but also neurotoxic methyl mercury, making them controversial foods during pregnancy. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded in 2015 that the beneficial effects of seafood in the maternal diet outweigh the risk associated with methyl mercury exposure, but data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) showed in 2016 that methyl mercury exposure above the 90th percentile had an adverse effect on neurodevelopment.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gingival disease both involve immune dysregulation and chronic inflammation. Gingival disease is associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral pathogen which expresses an enzyme that catalyzes the citrullination of arginine. Antibodies to this and other citrullinated antigens are found in circulation in individuals with gingival disease. 

Sirtuin-1 (SIRT-1) is a NAD-dependent protein involved in the deacetylation of histones and nonhistone proteins, including p53 and H3K56. Downregulation of SIRT-1 contributes to increased p53 acetylation and accumulation of reactive oxygen species—an epigenetic pattern that has been linked to the metabolic changes of type 2 diabetes. High levels of H3K56 acetylation are also an epigenetic marker of oxidative stress and associated with diabetes-related genes, but it is not known to what extent downregulation of SIRT-1 might contribute to H3K56 acetylation and metabolic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.

Calcific aortic valve stenosis (CAVS) is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in developed countries. CAVS is increasingly common in older adults and has a poor prognosis without intervention. Current guidelines do not recommend pharmacological interventions, leaving surgical valve replacement as the only treatment option for patients with severe and symptomatic CAVS. A clinical update, published in the European Heart Journal in 2017, summarized the latest research in the pathophysiology, potential pharmacological interventions, and new imaging techniques for CAVS.

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