Monday, July 23, 2007

Schizophrenia, Autism Linked to Flu

From the West Australian.

Women who get respiratory infections such as influenza in the second trimester of pregnancy are up to seven times more likely to have a child with schizophrenia. There also is an increased risk of autism.

Professor Paul Patterson, a neuroscientist from the California Institute of Technology, said this risk was much greater than any known genetic influence.

He believes the virus is able to trigger a mental “switch” which permanently alters and inflames the foetus’ brain, setting the child up for mental illness.

From H5N1 Blog.
His comment...
This is discouraging, but it also meshes with a 2006 study done on persons who were in utero when their mothers contracted Spanish flu in 1918-19. Pregnant women were at serious risk in that pandemic. Many of those who survived lost their babies. Those babies who did survive grew up to be unusually prone to illness and did poorly in education and work.

More at the links.

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