One study finds that premature babies have a greater risk for developing mental disorders in adulthood, compared to the babies carried full-term. According to Health.msn.co.nz, researchers from London's King College looked into the medical records of 10,000 Swedish people who had been admitted to the hospital for bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol addiction.
They found that adults who had been born before 32 weeks of gestation were three times as likely to suffer from depression and 7.4 times more likely to have bipolar disorder than babies born at 40 weeks. They were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from psychosis and 3.5 times more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. These rates were slightly lowered for babies born between 33 and 36 weeks of gestation.
Past research has shown that premature babies have a higher chance of behavior problems in school, but this study shows those problems could even persist into adulthood. Study author, Dr. Chiara Nosarti, claims that because the nervous systems of premies are less developed, they are at a greater risk for brain injuries. Dr. Nosarti said, "Since we considered only the most severe cases that resulted in hospitalization, it may be that in real terms this link is even stronger. However, it is important to remember that even with increased risk, these disorders still affect one to six percent of the population." Researchers hope this study will help doctors to take premature birth into account when making diagnosis of adolescents.
- Item Tag: premature babies and mental disorders