Flu In Pregnancy Linked To Schizophrenia

A bout of the flu during the first half of pregnancy may damage the fetal brain and raises the risk of children developing schizophrenia later in life, researchers said on Monday. In a small 64-family sample, researchers found the risk of developing the major mental disorder in adult offspring rose seven-fold if the expectant mother had the flu during the first trimester. If the virus struck between the midpoint of the pregnancy's first trimester and the midpoint of the second, the risk rose three-fold. There was no increased risk if the flu occurred in the second half of the pregnancy. "These findings represent the strongest evidence thus far that prenatal exposure to influenza plays a role in schizophrenia," said the study's lead author, Ezra Susser of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

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