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Prenatal risk factors and schizophrenia

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Author(s): Ana Eduarda Ribeiro

Journal: Acta Obstetrica e Ginecologia Portuguesa
ISSN 1646-5830


ABSTRACT
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder with etiopathogenic mechanisms that are not fully understood. The latest research has focused on the relevance of the prenatal period in neurodevelopment, as a period of particular vulnerability to early environmental exposures. This knowledge has strengthened the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia. A broad range of potential early environmental risk factors have been identified, such as gestation and delivery complications, exposure to influenza virus, maternal food deprivation, and Rh incompatibility, all of which have been consistently associated with a greater likelihood of developing schizophrenia. In spite of these associations, there are important limitations to currently available evidence, and it is still insufficient to establish a definite causal relationship. Moreover, the physiopathological mechanisms underlying these associations are still unknown.
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