‘Strongest Evidence to Date’ Ties Maternal Smoking to Psychosis
A Finnish study provides the most definitive evidence to date linking prenatal nicotine exposure to increased risk for schizophrenia in offspring, researchers say.
Investigators found a 38% increased likelihood of schizophrenia in young adults whose mothers smoked heavily while pregnant, as evidenced by higher maternal serum cotinine level.
“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between fetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” Solja Niemelä, MD, PhD, from University of Oulu, Finland, and colleagues write.
“Given the high frequency of smoking during pregnancy, these results, if replicated, may ultimately have important public health implications for decreasing the incidence of schizophrenia,” they conclude.