Maternal Influenza and Offspring Bipolar Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Clinical Epidemiology College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University Director Unit in Birth Cohort Studies Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute New York, NY 10032Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Clinical Epidemiology College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University Director
Unit in Birth Cohort Studies Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Brown: We found that a mother’s exposure to influenza during pregnancy, documented by antibodies in her serum, increased the risk of bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms in her offspring.  We did not show a relationship between influenza and bipolar disorder not accompanied by psychosis.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Brown: We had expected to find a relationship between influenza and bipolar disorder without psychotic symptoms based on my previous study; however, influenza was assessed differently between the two studies.  And my lab previously showed that prenatal influenza increased the risk of schizophrenia, so the findings of our current study were consistent with an effect of prenatal influenza on psychosis in general, rather than on a particular type of psychotic disorder.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Brown: The study provides support for influenza vaccinations in women planning a pregnancy and to consider vaccination while pregnant as recommended by several health organizations.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Brown: We wish to replicate the finding in other samples and examine the pathway by which maternal influenza and other inflammatory insults alter fetal brain development to lead to psychosis outcomes.

Citation:

Serological Documentation of Maternal Influenza Exposure and Bipolar Disorder in Adult Offspring
Sarah E. Canetta, Ph.D.; Yuanyuan Bao, M.S.; Mary Dawn T. Co, M.D.; Francis A. Ennis, M.D.; John Cruz, B.S.; Masanori Terajima, M.D., Ph.D.; Ling Shen, Ph.D.; Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D.; Catherine A. Schaefer, Ph.D.; Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H.

Am J Psychiatry 2014;:. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13070943