Lead researcher Chiara Nosarti, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychosis Studies at Kings College London, pointed out that "Despite these findings, the majority of people born preterm have no psychiatric problems, and the number of people hospitalized with psychiatric disease is very low." She did, however, urge routine screening of those born prematurely so that early signs of mental illness would be more likely to be detected. Study results were published last month in Archives of General Psychiatry. Nosarti and colleagues acknowledged that there may have been confounding factors for which they could not control such as family history of preterm delivery, maternal substance abuse or smoking, and bacterial or viral infections. They did control for sociodemographic characteristics and maternal psychiatric history.
To read about how prenatal antidepressant use may affect fetal growth, see Psychiatric News.