New Study Shows Early Birth May Pose Risk to the Mind

Posted On: July 16, 2012 under

TN Birth Injury Medical MalpracticeA recent study shows premature birth may increase the risk for serious mental illness in adolescence and young adulthood, according to a report in The New York Times. The study’s researchers reviewed the birth and hospital admission records of more than 1.3 million Swedes born from 1973 to 1985. The findings revealed that young adults born premature (at less than 32 weeks’ gestation) were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized for delusion disorders or schizophrenia, close to three times as likely to have major depression, and more than seven times as likely to have bipolar illness as compared to babies who were born at term. The study shows early birth may pose risk to the mind.

The risk for these disorders also increased for people who were born late preterm (32 to 36 weeks’ gestation), but not as sharply. Specifically, individuals were 60 percent more likely to have a depressive disorder, twice as likely to be hospitalized for bipolar illness, and 60 percent more likely to be admitted for schizophrenia or delusional disorders. The researchers acknowledge that the findings may have been affected by factors that they could not control, such as a family history of preterm delivery, but experts not a part of the study are impressed with the work.

The study’s lead author does note that, despite these findings, the “majority of people born preterm have no psychiatric problems, and the number of people hospitalized with the psychiatric disease is very low.” A professor at Columbia University does note, however, that a person’s mental health trajectory is “initiated in early development” and the study provides compelling evidence as to that ideal. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and utilized obstetric data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register.

A number of factors may influence a person’s mental and physical health later in life, and as some are not in the control of the person, others are, and any mistakes made by a medical professional during the birthing process can severely impact the life of a child. At Massey & Associates, P.C., our Tennessee birth injury attorneys understand the serious effects a birth injury can have a newborn child and their family and can hold negligent medical professionals responsible if they caused the injury. To see how we can assist you with your case, call (423) 697-4529 for a no-cost case evaluation.

According to the study, early birth may pose risk to the mind, consult legal representation if your child was injured from an early birth.