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February 16, 2000

Does Prenatal Famine Cause Later Antisocial Behaviors?

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(7):887-888. doi:10.1001/jama.283.7.882

To the Editor: Dr Neugebauer and colleagues1 relate the development of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) in early adulthood to the effects of nutritional deprivation during pregnancy in a Dutch cohort and hypothesize a neurodevelopmental explanation. The authors have likewise, in the past, suggested higher risks for schizophrenia2 and affective disorders3 with severe prenatal food deprivation in the Netherlands during the German blockade in World War II. Other studies have suggested similar causation for development of obesity in adulthood, decreased glucose tolerance in middle age, altered patterns of birth weight distribution in second-generation offspring (which Neugebauer et al quote), as well as coronary heart disease and hypertension in both humans and animal models.4,5