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Can the Flu Increase Your Risk of Having a Baby with Bipolar Disorder?

FertilityAuthority,  May 9, 2013

Another reason for fertility patients to get the influenza vaccine: a new study suggests that having the flu during pregnancy could increase the risk of the child having bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is classified by intense mood swings ranging from depression to mania and can last for several months per episode. The age of onset can occur in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry, the study reviewed data of 814 people who were born in the 1960s and compared incidence of the influenza virus and resultant child health outcomes to those not diagnosed with influenza.

Results indicated that women who had contracted the flu were four times more likely to give birth to a child who presented with bipolar disorder later in life. Prior studies have also linked influenza to schizophrenia; however, current data does not show a strong link between influenza and bipolar disorder in offspring.

Larger scale studies are warranted to confirm the correlation.


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