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The Dutch famine and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Abstract

In the Dutch Hunger Winter at the end of World War II a combination of circumstances created the conditions of a natural experiment. Unlike other famines, the Dutch famine struck at a precisely circumscribed time and place, and in a society able to document the timing and severity of the nutritional deprivation as well as the effects on fertility and health. Because the Dutch maintained comprehensive military and health records, it was possible to compare the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders in adulthood for birth cohorts exposed versus those unexposed to prenatal famine. We have conducted several studies guided by the hypothesis that prenatal micronutrient deficiencies can cause neurodevelopmental schizophrenia or related personality disorders. In this paper we shall summarize our previous work and combine the outcome data of the different studies. Early prenatal famine was found to be specifically and robustly associated with each of three conditions: (1) congenital anomalies of the central nervous system, (2) schizophrenia, and (3) schizophrenia spectrum personality disorders. We found that the greatest increase in the risk of schizophrenia spectrum disorder- schizophrenia plus spectrum personality disorder- occurred among males born in the famine cities in December 1945 (relative risk = 2.7; 95% confidence interval = 1.5-5.1). Persons born in December 1945 were generally conceived at the absolute peak of the famine (March-April 1945). In the hope that the associations we have found may offer clues to the aetiology of schizophrenia, we are currently tracing and examining the cases of schizophrenia after prenatal exposure to famine.

Links

Authors+Show Affiliations

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The Hague Psychiatric Institute, The Netherlands. hwhoek@worldonline.nl

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Source

MeSH

Adult
Female
Humans
Male
Middle Aged
Netherlands
Retrospective Studies
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenic Psychology
Starvation

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

9708024

Citation

Hoek, H W., et al. "The Dutch Famine and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders." Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 33, no. 8, 1998, pp. 373-9.
Hoek HW, Brown AS, Susser E. The Dutch famine and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1998;33(8):373-9.
Hoek, H. W., Brown, A. S., & Susser, E. (1998). The Dutch famine and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 33(8), pp. 373-9.
Hoek HW, Brown AS, Susser E. The Dutch Famine and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1998;33(8):373-9. PubMed PMID: 9708024.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The Dutch famine and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. AU - Hoek,H W, AU - Brown,A S, AU - Susser,E, PY - 1998/8/26/pubmed PY - 1998/8/26/medline PY - 1998/8/26/entrez SP - 373 EP - 9 JF - Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology JO - Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol VL - 33 IS - 8 N2 - In the Dutch Hunger Winter at the end of World War II a combination of circumstances created the conditions of a natural experiment. Unlike other famines, the Dutch famine struck at a precisely circumscribed time and place, and in a society able to document the timing and severity of the nutritional deprivation as well as the effects on fertility and health. Because the Dutch maintained comprehensive military and health records, it was possible to compare the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders in adulthood for birth cohorts exposed versus those unexposed to prenatal famine. We have conducted several studies guided by the hypothesis that prenatal micronutrient deficiencies can cause neurodevelopmental schizophrenia or related personality disorders. In this paper we shall summarize our previous work and combine the outcome data of the different studies. Early prenatal famine was found to be specifically and robustly associated with each of three conditions: (1) congenital anomalies of the central nervous system, (2) schizophrenia, and (3) schizophrenia spectrum personality disorders. We found that the greatest increase in the risk of schizophrenia spectrum disorder- schizophrenia plus spectrum personality disorder- occurred among males born in the famine cities in December 1945 (relative risk = 2.7; 95% confidence interval = 1.5-5.1). Persons born in December 1945 were generally conceived at the absolute peak of the famine (March-April 1945). In the hope that the associations we have found may offer clues to the aetiology of schizophrenia, we are currently tracing and examining the cases of schizophrenia after prenatal exposure to famine. SN - 0933-7954 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/9708024/The_Dutch_famine_and_schizophrenia_spectrum_disorders_ L2 - http://www.diseaseinfosearch.org/result/6442 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -