Low Birth Weight And Risk Of Affective Disorders And Selected Medical Illness In Offspring At High And Low Risk For Depression

Nomura, Yoko; Wickramaratne, Priya J.; Pilowsky, Daniel J.; Newcorn, Jeffrey H.; Bruder-Costello, Beth; Davey, Charles; Fifer, William P.; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne; Weissman, Myrna M.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that low birth weight (LBW) is associated with the development of medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, and psychiatric disorders, such as depression. One possible mechanism through which LBW might increase risk for both medical and psychiatric disorders is by altering the biologic systems (such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis function) that govern emotion regulation and physical reactivity. In this study, we conducted secondary data analyses in a longitudinal study originally designed to understand the intergenerational transmission of major depressive disorder (MDD). We examined the risk for both medical and psychiatric illnesses known to be influenced by HPA axis dysregulation in the context of parental depression. The study had 2 primary objectives: (1) to examine whether LBW increases the risk of selected adult illness that may be influenced by the HPA axis and (2) to examine whether the increased risk of illness varies by parental depression status.


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Comprehensive Psychiatry

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February 1, 2022