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Premature Babies, Psychiatric Trouble in Adulthood Linked by Study

By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 08:19 PM

Premature babies born at an extremely low birth weight are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from depression, ADHD, or other psychiatric conditions in adulthood, according to a new study.

The study, performed by McMaster University researchers on babies born between 1977-82 and published in the journal Pediatrics, found that babies of extremely low birth weights, whose mothers were given steroids before giving birth, were at a heightened risk for psychiatric disorders.

"Unfortunately, extremely low birth weight survivors who may benefit significantly from ACS [antenatal corticosteroids] at birth and in the neonatal period may be at an elevated risk of psychopathology in later life. However, it is important to stress that ACS is a lifesaving intervention, and even if our findings are replicated, we would advocate for close follow-up of these individuals rather than avoidance of ACS by women presenting with threatened preterm birth," the study said.

"Importantly, we have identified psychiatric risks that may develop for extremely low birth weight survivors as they become adults, and this understanding will help us better predict, detect and treat mental disorders in this population," Dr. Ryan Van Lieshout, lead author of the study and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster, said in a news release.

In contrast, the low birth weight babies were also three times less likely to have an alcohol or substance use disorder, the study concluded.

The study followed 84 adults who entered the world weighing less than 2 pounds, 2 ounces, compared to 90 babies born at normal birth weights.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 8 percent of U.S. babies were born at less than 5.5 pounds in 2013, while about 1.4 percent were born at an extremely low birth weight of less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces.

Previous studies have found links between low birth weights and a heightened risk of myriad health problems, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

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Premature babies born at an extremely low birth weight are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from depression, ADHD, or other psychiatric conditions in adulthood, according to a new study.
premature, babies, psychiatric, trouble, study
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2015-19-09
Monday, 09 Feb 2015 08:19 PM
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