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Prenatal problems linked to schizophrenia

5:14pm, January 21, 2003

Certain events during pregnancy may disrupt brain growth in ways that markedly raise a child's likelihood of developing schizophrenia as a young adult, according to new results from three independent, long-term studies.

Periods of oxygen deprivation in the fetus and second-trimester respiratory infections in the mother exhibited strong associations with adult schizophrenia in these investigations. Maternal obesity before pregnancy also foreshadowed many cases of adult schizophrenia. Genetic traits, such as low concentrations of substances in the brain that help to protect oxygen-starved neurons, probably contribute to many cases of this severe psychiatric disorder, the research teams all say.

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