Sunday, September 07, 2008

Birthweight and insanity

More "correlation is causation" nonsense below. Let me put up just one altenative explanation of the findings: Mentally ill people have a very high rate of smoking and smoking mothers do tend to have low birthweight babies. And mental illness is largely hereditary. So all we have is an unsurprising finding that the mentally ill mothers included in the smoker group increase the incidence of mentally ill babies in that group. The mental state of the mother caused the effect -- not her smoking

Low birth weight may increase the risk of psychiatric problems in children, claims new research in the Archives of General Psychiatry, suggesting these children should be monitored more closely for symptoms. Researchers recruited 823 children from urban and suburban areas of Detroit, Michigan. Their psychiatric problems were rated by their mothers and teachers at ages six, 11 and 17. Those with a birth weight of less than 2.5 kilograms were 53 per cent more likely to show delinquent or aggressive behaviour and 28 per cent more likely to be withdrawn, anxious or depressed throughout their school years. Among city-dwelling children, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was nearly three times more common in low birth weight children than in those from the normal weight range.

Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008;65:1080-1086 (Bohnert KM, et al)


Exercise and pregnancy

More childish reasoning below. They find that depressed women exercise less. Fine. So if they exercised more they would be less depressed? It does not follow at all.

EXERCISE can improve the body image of expectant mothers and help prevent depression during and after pregnancy, claims a new study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. The authors surveyed 230 women throughout pregnancy and after birth about their exercise habits, symptoms of depression and feelings about their weight and appearance. Women who reported more depressive symptoms during the first trimester tended to exercise less during this time. And those who exercised more prior to pregnancy had greater body satisfaction and less depressive symptoms during the second trimester. Women could maintain moderate exercise if they were active pre-pregnancy, say the authors, but shouldn't start strenuous exercise if they were sedentary before.

Ann Behav Med 2008;35 (Downs DS, et al)


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