Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Flu in Pregnancy May Quadruple Child’s Risk for Bipolar Disorder

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Bookmark and Share
NIH-funded study adds to evidence of overlap with Schizophrenia.

Pregnant mothers’ exposure to the flu was associated with a nearly fourfold increased risk that their child would develop bipolar disorder ( in adulthood, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings add to mounting evidence of possible shared underlying causes and illness processes with schizophrenia (, which some studies have also linked to prenatal exposure to influenza.

“Prospective mothers should take common sense preventive measures, such as getting flu shots prior to and in the early stages of pregnancy and avoiding contact with people who are symptomatic,” said Alan Brown, M.D., M.P.H, of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, a grantee of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Brown continued, “In spite of public health recommendations, only a relatively small fraction of such women get immunized. The weight of evidence now suggests that benefits of the vaccine likely outweigh any possible risk to the mother or newborn.”

Brown and colleagues reported their findings online May 8, 2013 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Although there have been hints of a maternal influenza/bipolar disorder connection, the new study is the first to prospectively follow families in the same HMO, using physician-based diagnoses and structured standardized psychiatric measures.

Access to unique Kaiser-Permanente, county and Child Health and Development Study ( databases made it possible to include more cases with detailed maternal flu exposure information than in previous studies.

Among nearly a third of all children born in a northern California county during 1959-1966, researchers followed, 92 who developed bipolar disorder, comparing rates of maternal flu diagnoses during pregnancy with 722 matched controls.

The nearly fourfold increased risk implicated influenza infection at any time during pregnancy, but there was evidence suggesting slightly higher risk if the flu occurred during the second or third trimesters.

Moreover, the researchers linked flu exposure to a nearly sixfold increase in a subtype of bipolar disorder with psychotic features.

A previous study, by Brown and colleagues, in a related northern California sample, found a threefold increased risk for schizophrenia associated with maternal influenza during the first half of pregnancy. Autism has similarly been linked to first trimester maternal viral infections and to possibly related increases in inflammatory molecules.

“Future research might investigate whether this same environmental risk factor might give rise to different disorders, depending on how the timing of the prenatal insult affects the developing fetal brain,” suggested Brown.

Bipolar disorder shares with schizophrenia a number of other suspected causes and illness features, the researchers note. For example, both share onset of symptoms in early adulthood, susceptibility genes (, run in the same families, affect nearly one percent of the population, show psychotic behaviors and respond to antipsychotic medications.

Increasing evidence of such overlap between traditional diagnostic categories has led to the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) ( project, which is laying the foundation for a new mental disorders classification system based on brain circuits and dimensional mechanisms that cut across traditional diagnostic categories.

The research was also funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns
Researchers tested an alternative way to diagnose bacterial infections in infants—by analyzing RNA biosignatures from a small blood sample.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Seeking Innovation to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
Federal prize competition, with $20 million in prizes, seeks to develop new laboratory diagnostic tools to detect and distinguish antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Genetic Misdiagnoses of Heart Condition
Analysis found several genetic variations previously linked with a heart condition were harmless, leading to condition misdiagnosis.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Diagnosing Bacterial Infections in Blood Samples
Researchers have diagnosed a bacterial infection from a blood sample in infants.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Public Support for National Study
Survey shows the majority of respondents support or show willingness for national precision medicine study.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
NIH Funds Zika Virus Study Involving U.S. Olympic Team
Researchers will monitor potential Zika virus exposure among a subset of athletes traveling to Brazil.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Implementation Science Approaches to Reduce Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
The NIH study will investigate best practices to ease major disease burden in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Friday, July 01, 2016
Some Women With PCOS May Have Adrenal Disorder
Researchers at NIH have found that a subgroup of women with PCOS, a leading cause of infertility, may produce excess adrenal hormones.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
NIH Sequences Genome of a Fungus
Researchers at the Institute have sequenced genome of human, mouse and rat Pneumocystis that cause life-threatening Pneumonia in immunosuppressed hosts.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Children With Cushing Syndrome May Have Higher Suicide Risk
Researchers at NIH have found that depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts increase after treatment.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Couples’ Pre-Pregnancy Caffeine Consumption Linked to Miscarriage Risk
Researchers at NIH have found daily multivitamin before and after conception greatly reduces miscarriage risk.
Friday, March 25, 2016
Researchers Identify Molecule Needed for Sperm Activation
Researchers at NIH have discovered new options for male contraception as well as treatments for infertility resulting from problems with sperm mobility.
Friday, March 18, 2016
A Child’s First Eight Years Critical For Substance Abuse Prevention
Researchers at NIH have released summary of research on early childhood risk and protective factors.
Friday, March 11, 2016
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
Monday, February 08, 2016
NIH Unveils FY2016–2020 Strategic Plan
Detailed plan sets course for advancing scientific discoveries and human health.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Smartphone Laboratory Detects Cancer
Researchers develop low-cost, portable laboratory on a smartphonecapable of analysing multiple samples simultaneously.
Nanomedicine for Breast Cancer Treatment
Using nanoparticles measuring only billionths of a meter in size, doctors are able to deliver drug molecules directly to the affected tissue.
Clamping Down on Biomolecules
Physicists have developed a novel nanotool that provides a means of characterizing the mechanical properties of biomolecules.
MRIs for Fetal Health
Algorithm could help analyze fetal scans to determine whether interventions are warranted.
Illumina Contributes to ClinVar Database
The contribution includes variants of all classifications, from pathogenic to benign, identified during interpretation of whole genome sequences generated in the CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory.
Signaling Pathway Could Be Key to Improved Osteoporosis Treatment
Inhibition of SIK2 enzyme both stimulates bone formation and reduces bone breakdown in animal model.
Supercomputers Could Improve Cancer Diagnostics
Researchers push the boundaries of cancer research through high-performance computing to map the human immunone.
Transgenomic, Precipio Diagnostics Merger
Merger will creates a robust diagnostic platform focused on improving accuracy of cancer diagnoses.
Inflammation Test May Predict Cardiovascular Disease
An assessment combining measures of immune-cell responsiveness predicted cardiovascular problems in individuals who likely would have slipped under the radar.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos