A new study suggests that new mothers who cradle their infants on the right side of their body may be displaying signs of "extreme stress".

The research supports earlier studies which have found that most mothers prefer to hold their baby to their left, regardless of whether they are left or right handed.

The study suggests there is a link between the few who hold a baby on the right and it indicates a greater likelihood that they are experiencing stress beyond the levels natural in new parents.

The researchers say the finding could provide a new way to tackle postnatal depression.

At least one in 10 new mothers suffers from postnatal depression but many go undiagnosed as they are unwilling or unable to get help.

The researchers say by studying non-verbal cues such as baby-cradling, doctors and health visitors could identify which mothers need extra professional support before it becomes too late; postnatal depression in mothers can have a detrimental effect on the baby's mental development.

The study was based on 79 new mothers and their babies, who were an average age of seven months.

The research was conducted in the mothers own homes and they were asked to cradle their babies and also answered questions about their feelings and mental well-being.

The researchers found that of the mothers who expressed no stress or depression only 14% preferred to hold their babies to the right while 32% of stressed mothers showed a right-sided bias.

Lead author Dr. Nadja Reissland, a senior lecturer with Durham University's department of psychology, says early detection of stress is vital and the way new mothers interact with their child is usually the best indicator of their inner mental state.

The study is published in the online edition of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The data from the clinical studies of Seroquel XR reviewed by MEB have now been published. Professor Rene Kahn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Head of the Division of Neuroscience at the University Medical Center, Utrecht, said: "In clinical studies Seroquel XR showed its potential as a once-daily treatment for both acute and clinically stable schizophrenia patients. In the clinical trials, the effective dose range was reached within two days of starting treatment - the data demonstrated that range is between 400 and 800 mg/day. In mental healthcare, striving for treatment that is simpler and more practical is an important objective for patients and doctors. The right treatment enables patients to begin a path to recovery - not only in mental and physical terms but in emotional and social terms also."

Beyond schizophrenia, ongoing clinical studies of Seroquel XR cover bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Seroquel (original formulation quetiapine) is the number one prescribed atypical antipsychotic in the United States and global sales for Seroquel reached US$3.4 billion in 2006. It is licensed in 85 countries for the treatment of schizophrenia, in 73 countries for the treatment of mania associated with bipolar disorder, and in October 2006 it was approved in the US by the FDA for the treatment of bipolar depression.