A joint study by UCLA and the University of Southern California has found that children whose mothers suffered from HG while carrying them were 3.6 times more likely to suffer from anxiety, bipolar disorder and depression in adulthood than individuals whose mothers did not have the condition. HG sends some 285,000 women to the hospital in the U.S. each year.
The study is published in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.
Prior studies have found that children of women who experience nausea persisting beyond the first trimester of pregnancy have more attention and learning problems by age 12, said study co-author Marlena Fejzo, an assistant professor of hematology–oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and an assistant professor of maternal and fetal medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. And other studies have found that poor fetal nutrition, a frequent result of HG, can lead to poor health in adulthood.
"Even though hyperemesis gravidarum can be a form of starvation and dehydration in pregnancy, no studies prior to this have been done to determine the long-term effects it has on the exposed unborn child," Fejzo said.
HG often runs in families and in previous research, Fejzo and her colleagues found that women with a family history of the condition were up to 17 times more likely to suffer from it themselves.
The findings from the current study were based on surveys of women with HG who reported on the emotional and behavioral histories of their siblings. Of the 150 respondents, 55 had mothers who also suffered from the condition, so their siblings were exposed to HG in utero; 95 had mothers who didn't experience HG, and thus their siblings were not exposed. There was a total of 87 siblings from the exposed group (the "cases") and 172 from the non-exposed group (the "controls").
The researchers found that 16 percent of siblings from the exposed group had depression, compared with 3 percent from the non-exposed group; 8 percent from the exposed group were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, compared with 2 percent from the non-exposed group; and 7 percent from the exposed group suffered from anxiety in adulthood, compared with 2 percent from the non-exposed group.
"In all, among 17 diagnoses, 38 percent of the cases [those from the exposed group] are reported to have a psychological and/or behavioral disorder, as compared to 15 percent of controls," the researchers write. "In this study, adults exposed to HG in utero are significantly more likely to have a psychological and/or behavioral disorder than non-exposed adults."
These higher rates could stem from the mothers' prolonged malnutrition and dehydration during fetal brain development. And the anxiety and stress that are common during and after HG pregnancies may also play a part, the researchers said.
The researchers noted that the study has limitations. For instance, it was based on recall and self-reporting, which can lead to biased or incomplete responses, so the rates of diagnoses within each group should be treated with caution, they said.
Still, the very significant differences reported suggest that adults who were exposed to HG in utero could be at a nearly fourfold higher risk for lifelong neurobehavioral disorders in adulthood.
"HG is an understudied and undertreated condition of pregnancy that can result in not only short-term maternal physical and mental health problems but also potentially lifelong consequences to the exposed fetus," the researchers concluded.
The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this study.
Additional study co-authors were Andrew Bray and Frederic Schoenberg of UCLA; Patrick Mullin and T. Murphy Goodwin of USC; Kimber W. MacGibbon of the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation; and Roberto Romero of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Please contact Fejzo at email@example.com to participate in the HG research.
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ranks among the nation's elite medical schools, producing doctors and researchers whose contributions have led to major breakthroughs in health care. With more than 2,000 full-time faculty members, nearly 1,300 residents, more than 750 medical students and almost 400 Ph.D. candidates, the medical school consistently ranks among the top institutions in National Institutes of Health and overall research funding.
For more news, visit UCLA Newsroom and UCLA News|Week and follow us on Twitter.
Enrique Rivero | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy