Pregnant women who endure the psychological stress of being in a war zone may be more likely to give birth to a child who develops schizophrenia, psychiatry researchers say. Dr. Dolores Malaspina, a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and her colleagues analyzed medical records from more than 88,000 people who were born in Jerusalem from 1964 to 1976. Females born to women who were in their second month of pregnancy during the Six-Day War between Arabs and Israelis in June 1967 were 4.3 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than females born at other times, the team reported in Wednesday's online issue of the journal BMC Psychiatry. Males born to women at the same stage of pregnancy were 1.2 more likely to develop schizophrenia.
Babies born to women who were pregnant during the 1998 ice storm in Eastern Canada and faced unusual stresses show some developmental delays such as lower IQ scores, researchers have found. The study, to be published in September's issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, used data from 178 women who were pregnant during the ice storm. The researchers also examined 89 children who were born then. In January 1998, 30 people died and nearly 1,000 were injured when the storm dumped as much as 108 millimetres of freezing rain on parts of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. More than three million Canadians lost power for as long as 40 days, according to the study.