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Childhood Chronic Conditions Up With Maternal Schizophrenia

Children exposed to maternal schizophrenia have increased risk for mental health and non-mental health conditions

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Children exposed to maternal schizophrenia have an increased risk for chronic health conditions in childhood, according to a study published in the November issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin.

Simone N. Vigod, M.D., from the Women’s College Hospital and Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues used health administrative data from Ontario, Canada, for 5,066 children of mothers with schizophrenia and 25,324 children of mothers without schizophrenia to assess the risk for childhood chronic health conditions (Childhood-CC).

The researchers found that 656 and 2,872 children exposed and not exposed to maternal schizophrenia, respectively, developed a Childhood-CC (20.5 versus 17.1/1,000 person-years). The corresponding rates were 3.3 versus 1.9/1,000 person-years for mental health Childhood-CC and 18.0 versus 15.7/1,000 person-years for non-mental health Childhood-CC. All-cause mortality rates did not differ significantly (1.2 versus 0.8/1,000 person-years). From age 1 year, the risk was greater for children whose mothers were diagnosed with schizophrenia before pregnancy versus those diagnosed postnatally.

“The results of the current study around the risk for chronic conditions in older children add to the literature around the complexity of schizophrenia as an illness, and its potential implications for health into the next generation,” the authors write.

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