Prenatal malnutrition and adult Schizophrenia

Further evidence from the 1959-1961 chinese famine

Ming Qing Xu, Wen Sheng Sun, Ben Xiu Liu, Guo Yin Feng, Lan Yu, Larry Yang, Guang He, Pak Sham, Ezra Susser, David St. Clair, Lin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Evidence from the 1944-1995 Dutch Hunger Winter and the 1959-1961 Chinese famines suggests that those conceived or in early gestation during famines, have a 2-fold increased risk of developing schizophrenia in adult life. We tested the hypothesis in a second Chinese population and also determined whether risk differed between urban and rural areas. Method: The risk of schizophrenia was examined in Liuzhou prefecture of Guangxi autonomous region. Rates were compared among those conceived before, during, and after the famine years. Based on the decline in birth rates, we predicted that those born in 1960 and 1961 would have been exposed to the famine during conception or early gestation. All psychiatric case records in Liuzhou psychiatric hospital for the years 1971 through 2001 were examined and clinical/sociodemographic data extracted by psychiatrists blind to exposure status. Data on births and deaths in the famine years were also available, and cumulative mortality was estimated from later demographic surveys. Evidence of famine was verified, and results were adjusted for mortality. Relative risks (RRs) for schizophrenia were calculated for the region as a whole and for urban and rural areas separately. Results: Mortality-adjusted RR for schizophrenia was 1.5 (1960) and 2.05 (1961), respectively. However, the effect was exclusively from the rural areas RR = 1.68 (1960) and RR=2.25 (1961). Conclusions: We observe a 2-fold increased risk of schizophrenia among those conceived or in early gestation at the height of famine with risk related to severity of famine conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-576
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

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Starvation
Malnutrition
Schizophrenia
Pregnancy
Psychiatry
Mortality
Hunger
Birth Rate
Psychiatric Hospitals
Demography
Parturition

Keywords

  • China
  • Famine
  • Prenatal
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Prenatal malnutrition and adult Schizophrenia : Further evidence from the 1959-1961 chinese famine. / Xu, Ming Qing; Sun, Wen Sheng; Liu, Ben Xiu; Feng, Guo Yin; Yu, Lan; Yang, Larry; He, Guang; Sham, Pak; Susser, Ezra; St. Clair, David; He, Lin.

In: Schizophrenia Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 3, 05.2009, p. 568-576.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Xu, MQ, Sun, WS, Liu, BX, Feng, GY, Yu, L, Yang, L, He, G, Sham, P, Susser, E, St. Clair, D & He, L 2009, 'Prenatal malnutrition and adult Schizophrenia: Further evidence from the 1959-1961 chinese famine', Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 568-576. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbn168
Xu, Ming Qing ; Sun, Wen Sheng ; Liu, Ben Xiu ; Feng, Guo Yin ; Yu, Lan ; Yang, Larry ; He, Guang ; Sham, Pak ; Susser, Ezra ; St. Clair, David ; He, Lin. / Prenatal malnutrition and adult Schizophrenia : Further evidence from the 1959-1961 chinese famine. In: Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2009 ; Vol. 35, No. 3. pp. 568-576.
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