In one of the first, and the largest, studies of relationships between premature births and severe psychiatric disorders, researchers from Sweden and England examined the medical records of over 1.3 million people born in Sweden. In adulthood, they found, those who had been born prematurely were 7.4x more likely to be hospitalized with bipolar disorder, 3x more likely to be hospitalized for depression and 2.5x more likely for psychosis. “The immature nervous system is particularly vulnerable to neonatal brain injury,” the authors note. “The lack of specificity in outcome suggests that there may be similar developmental etiologies linking various psychiatric disorders.” Results appeared online June 1, 2012 in Archives of General Psychiatry.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.