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Invited Commentary
April 2017

Prenatal Nutritional Deficiency and Psychosis: Where Do We Go From Here?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • 2Division of Social Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(4):349-350. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.4256

In this issue of JAMA Psychiatry, Mackay et al1 report that extremely inadequate gestational weight gain is linked to nonaffective psychosis in offspring. This result is concordant with several previous studies2 designed as natural experiments that linked prenatal maternal famine to offspring nonaffective psychosis. The present study, based on Swedish national registries, represents a substantial advance by providing evidence that a similar association is detectable among individuals in a generally well-fed population in more ordinary circumstances. Also notable, the study included strengths of design not possible in the natural experiments, such as rigorous control for parental psychiatric conditions and comparison of affected and unaffected siblings. Thus, it contributes to an increasingly robust body of convergent evidence for a role of prenatal nutritional deficiency in the early origins of psychosis and strengthens the argument for examining prenatal nutritional supplements and dietary patterns as a means of prevention.

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