6th April 05:43
Interesting article in the paper yesterday... (influenza depression schizophrenia pregnancy)
Originally seen in the Houston Chronicle
Aug. 2, 2004, 8:57PM
Flu linked to mental disorder
Children have an increased risk of schizophrenia if mother was sick during
By LINDSEY TANNER
CHICAGO - A new study adds more evidence to a body of research that suggests
the children of some women who get the flu while pregnant are at higher risk
of developing schizophrenia.
The study examined the women's blood samples, which indicated that those who
had the flu during the first half of pregnancy were three times more likely
than non-infected women to have children who developed schizophrenia later
The researchers emphasized that the overall risks are still small. Only
about 1 percent of the U.S. population has schizophrenia and the results
suggest that about 97 percent of babies born to women who had the flu while
pregnant will not develop schizophrenia.
Lead author Dr. Alan Brown theorized that the damage occurs only in a small
number of genetically susceptible fetuses since most pregnant women with the
flu end up with healthy children. He said more research is needed to confirm
However, Dr. Robert Yolken, a Johns Hopkins University scientist who has
long studied the role viruses may play in mental illness, said the latest
findings along with previous evidence make it "pretty clear that influenza
infection during pregnancy is a risk factor ... " for schizophrenia.
Yolken said the added knowledge might lead to interventions to help keep
pregnant women healthy. Already, women who will be more than three months
pregnant during the flu season are urged to get the flu shot.
Interesting stuff. Interesting to me, because of the apparent tendancy for
depression in my family. I have heard of stuff like this before, more
specifically of a particular strain of flu that hit approximately 30 years
before a significant increase in schizophrenia (in Germany, I think). That
was from a book called The Science of Viruses, which I have since lost.