PLOS ONE2013-12-06 1:55 AM

Prenatal Glucocorticoid Treatment and Later Mental Health in Children and Adolescents


Animal studies demonstrate a clear link between prenatal exposure to glucocorticoids (GC) and altered offspring brain development. We aim to examine whether prenatal GC exposure programs long-term mental health in humans.
Using propensity-score-matching, children prenatally exposed to synthetic glucocorticoids (sGC), n=37, and controls, n=185, were balanced on important confounders related to sGC treatment - gestational age and pre-pregnancy BMI. We also used mixed-effects modeling to analyse the entire cohort – matching each sGC case, n=37, to all possible controls, n=6079, on gestational age and sex. We obtained data from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 at four waves – pregnancy, birth, 8 and 16 years. Data on pregnancy and birth outcomes came from medical records. Mental health was assessed at 8 years by teachers with the Rutter B2 scale, and at 16 years by parents with the Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD symptoms and Normal behavior (SWAN) scale and adolescents by the Youth Self-Report (YSR) scale.

Prenatal sGC treatment was consistently associated with adverse mental health in childhood and adolescence, as shown by both the propensity-score method and mixed-effects model. Using the propensity-score-matched subsample, linear multiple regression showed prenatal sGC was significantly linked with general psychiatric disturbance (B=8.34 [95% CI: .23-16.45]) and inattention (B= .97 [95% CI: .16-1.80]) at 8 years after control for relevant confounders. Similar findings were obtained at 16 years, but did not reach statistical significance. Mediation by birthweight/placental weight was not detected.

This study is the first to prospectively investigate the long-term associations between prenatal exposure to sGC treatment and mental health in children and adolescents. We report an association between prenatal exposure to sGC and child mental health, supportive of the idea that sGC has a programming effect on the fetal brain.






0 Following 5 Fans 0 Projects 90 Articles


AbstractAgencies that fund scientific research must choose: is it more effective to give large grants to a few elite researchers, or small grants to ma

Read More

Abstract The role of genetically modified (GM) crops for food security is the subject of public controversy. GM crops could contribute to food product

Read More

Abstract 论文摘要 Background Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly increased survival among HIV-positive adults in the United State

Read More

AbstractThe U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget expansion from 1998 through 2003 increased demand for biomedical research, raising relative

Read More

Abstract Kawaii (a Japanese word meaning “cute”) things are popular because they produce positive feelings. However, their effect on behavior remains

Read More

Abstract The diversity of life is one of the most striking aspects of our planet; hence knowing how many species inhabit Earth is among the most funda

Read More

Abstract Lateralized brain regions subserve functions such as language and visuospatial processing. It has been conjectured that individuals may be le

Read More

Abstract Background and Aims Questions over the clinical significance of cannabis withdrawal have hindered its inclusion as a discrete cannabis ind

Read More