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Association of measures of fetal and childhood growth with non-clinical psychotic symptoms in 12-year-olds: the ALSPAC cohort

  • K. Thomas (a1), G. Harrison (a2), S. Zammit (a3), G. Lewis (a2), J. Horwood (a1), J. Heron (a1), C. Hollis (a4), D. Wolke (a5), A. Thompson (a2) and D. Gunnell (a6)...
Abstract
Background

Previous studies have suggested that impaired fetal and childhood growth are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia, but the association of pre-adult growth with non-clinical psychotic symptoms (psychosis-like symptoms) in children is not known.

Aims

To explore the associations of body size at birth and age 7.5 years with childhood psychosis-like symptoms.

Method

Prospective cohort of children followed up from birth to age 12: the ALSPAC cohort.

Results

Data on 6000 singleton infants born after 37 weeks of gestation. A one standard deviation increase in birth weight was associated with an 18% reduction in the risk of definite psychosis-like symptoms after adjusting for age and gestation (Odds ratio (OR) = 0.82, 95% CI = 0.73–0.92, P = 0.001). This association was partly confounded by maternal anthropometry, smoking during pregnancy, socioeconomic status and IQ. A similar association was seen for birth length and psychosis-like symptoms, which disappeared after controlling for birth weight. There was little evidence for an association of 7-year height or adiposity with psychosis-like symptoms.

Conclusions

Measures of impaired fetal, but not childhood, growth are associated with an increased risk of psychosis-like symptoms in 12-year-olds.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
David Gunnell, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK. Email: D.J.Gunnell@bristol.ac.uk
Footnotes
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The UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust; grant no. 072043

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Association of measures of fetal and childhood growth with non-clinical psychotic symptoms in 12-year-olds: the ALSPAC cohort

  • K. Thomas (a1), G. Harrison (a2), S. Zammit (a3), G. Lewis (a2), J. Horwood (a1), J. Heron (a1), C. Hollis (a4), D. Wolke (a5), A. Thompson (a2) and D. Gunnell (a6)...
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