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Maternal exposure to respiratory infections and adult schizophrenia spectrum disorders: a prospective birth cohort study

We sought to examine the relationship between maternal exposure to adult respiratory infections and schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) in the Prenatal Determinants of Schizophrenia (PDS) Study, a large birth cohort investigation. Previous work suggests that second trimester exposure to respiratory infection may be a risk factor for SSD. We therefore examined whether this class of infection was associated with adult SSD. For this purpose, we capitalized on several design advantages of the PDS Study, including a comprehensive, prospective data base on physician-diagnosed infections and a continuous followup in which diagnoses of SSD were made, in the majority, by face-to-face interview. Second trimester exposure to respiratory infections was associated with a significantly increased risk of SSD, adjusting for maternal smoking, education, and race (rate ratio [RR] = 2.13 [1.05-4.35], chi2 = 4.36, df= 1,p = 0.04); no associations were shown for first trimester and third trimester exposure to these respiratory infections. These findings support-and extend-previous studies suggesting that second trimester respiratory infections are risk factors for SSD. This study therefore has implications toward uncovering the etiology of schizophrenia and developing preventive strategies.

Authors: Brown AS; Schaefer CA; Wyatt RJ; Goetz R; Begg MD; Gorman JM; Susser ES

Schizophr Bull. 2000;26(2):287-95.

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