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August 3, 2005

Accumulating Evidence for Prenatal Nutritional Origins of Mental Disorders

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Epidemiology of Developmental Brain Disorders Department, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Faculty of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York; and Department of International Health and Development, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.

JAMA. 2005;294(5):621-623. doi:10.1001/jama.294.5.621

The study by St Clair et al1 in this issue of JAMA reports an association between prenatal exposure to severe maternal nutritional deficiency and risk for schizophrenia in adulthood. Examination of this question was achieved through strategic use of the Chinese famine of 1959 through 1961 as the fulcrum of their study design. In so doing, these authors afford yet another excellent example, frequent among articles in the annual JAMA theme issue on violence and human rights, of epidemiologists extracting otherwise inaccessible scientific knowledge from the harsh soil of human catastrophe.

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