Women who go severely hungry during early pregnancy face twice the normal risk of having a child who develops schizophrenia in adulthood, shows a study of the prevalence of the personality disorder among people who were born in China before, during, and after a 2-year famine that began in 1959.
The results confirm observations from a famine in Holland during the winter of 1944–1945. The high rate of schizophrenia associated with the Dutch famine, caused by a Nazi blockade, could have been explained by food shortage or other factors. For example, many starving Dutch people ate tulip bulbs, which might contain some neurotoxin.
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