Reuters (6/2, Kelland) reported that according to a study published June 1 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, babies born before 32 weeks’ gestation may be more likely to develop severe psychiatric issues, including depression, bipolar disorder or psychosis. For infants born between 32 and 36 weeks, there was a lesser yet noticeably increased risk for psychiatric problems.
Specifically, “compared to babies born at full term, which is 37 to 42 weeks of gestation, babies who were born at less than 32 weeks were seven times more likely to be hospitalized with bipolar disorder as adults,” the CNN (6/2, Wade) “The Chart” blog reported. “They were three times more likely to be hospitalized for depression and more than twice as likely for psychosis,” investigators found. To arrive at this conclusion, “scientists analyzed data from the medical records of more than 1.3 million people born in Sweden, focusing on people older than age 16 who were admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric disorder.” They then cross-checked the data to see which individuals had been born prematurely.
MedPage Today (6/2, Neale) reported, “The researchers noted that the relationship between preterm birth and impaired neurodevelopment is biologically plausible. ‘Functional magnetic resonance studies in young adults who were born very preterm have documented neuroanatomical alterations in brain networks that have also been found to be disrupted in psychiatric populations, including frontostriatal, frontoparietal, occipital, temporal, and fronto-parieto-cerebellar,’ they wrote.” Also covering the story were BBC News (6/1, Gallagher) and the UK’s Telegraph (6/3, Donnelly).
While this isn’t necessarily psychiatry, I think it deserves notice.
— “Premature babies have higher psychiatric risk,”Kate Kelland , Reuters, June 01, 2012.