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Schizophrenia risk higher in children whose parents had shorter durations of intimacy

ANI | Updated: Apr 24, 2019 16:35 IST

Washington DC [USA], Apr 24 (ANI): Children born to couples who had sexual contact for less than three years before conceiving a baby, are more prone to schizophrenia, a new study revealed.
The study was published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
"We hypothesized that if maternal immune intolerance to the father's sperm is a component pathway of risk for schizophrenia, then the couples' duration of pre-pregnancy sexual contact could be related to the offspring's risk for schizophrenia," said Dolores Malaspina, author of the research.
She added, "Our results conclude that offspring born to couples married for less than three years, across all paternal ages, harbor a small increased risk for schizophrenia, which was independent of parental psychiatric disorders and paternal age.”
“We anticipate that this work will inspire many follow-up studies to examine this disease pathway," said Dolores.
Previous studies have linked short durations of marriage with a high risk of schizophrenia for the offspring, with pre-eclampsia considered as the explanation behind it.
This study examined the offspring’s risk for schizophrenia and separated the inter-related measures of parental age, father’s age at marriage, parental psychiatric diagnoses along with the duration of their marriage.
Data was collected from more than 90,000 off springs born between 1964 and 1976.
Researchers found that those offsprings who were born to a couple married for less than two years, equivalent to one year of pre-pregnancy sexual interaction, were at a 50 per cent increased risk for schizophrenia.
While in the case of offsprings born to couples whose marriage completed two to four years had a 30 per cent increase in risk. Every five years predicted a 14 per cent decrease in the risk of schizophrenia.
"Our findings, which coincide with obstetric literature that shows a shorter duration of parental sexual contact before conception increases the pregnancy risk for pre-eclampsia, is timely in the light of recent discovery that some genes implicated in schizophrenia are placental genes with differential expression from prenatal adversity like pre-eclampsia and hypertension," says Dr. Malaspina. "
She further added, “The data suggests that prenatal immune activation from pre-eclampsia could produce lasting inflammatory vulnerability for the mother and foetus, increasing the susceptibility for psychiatric and metabolic conditions." (ANI)