According to Robert Glatter, MD, contributor for Forbes published today, “If a woman develops influenza during pregnancy, her child has almost a 4-fold increased risk of developing bipolar disorder later in life. The Study published in JAMA Psychiatry online goes on to suggest a possible link to a viral etiology of certain psychiatric disorders. In fact, previous research by the lead study author, Dr. Alan Brown and his colleagues, found that the risk of developing schizophrenia increases with fetal exposure to maternal influenza virus.”
“More in-depth analysis revealed no association between bipolar disorder and other maternal non- influenza respiratory viruses. After reviewing all pregnancy trimesters, only the third trimester showed a significant association between bipolar disorder and gestational influenza exposure (odds ratio [OR], 4.72; 95% CI, 1.13 – 19.76; P = .03).”
“It is important to note that the study was small and the women who had influenza during pregnancy were significantly more likely to have a history of a psychiatric disorder (P = .04). However, even after they adjusted for that variable, the association between maternal influenza and adult offspring’s increased risk for bipolar disorder remained constant.”
This long-term study “documented diagnoses of influenza during pregnancy and long term follow-up of all children over the years to monitor for onset of bipolar disorder. The youngest offspring in the cohort were 45-years-old at study completion in 2011.”
“As prenatal influenza exposure may a cause of bipolar disorder, the authors in the study recommend preventive measures for women of childbearing age, such as receiving pre-pregnancy vaccination against influenza and avoiding people who are coughing and have a fever or upper respiratory infection during pregnancy.”
MNT Medical News Today states that, “Bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal mood shifts, as well as fluctuations in energy, activity levels and the ability to complete everyday tasks. Bipolar is a serious mental illness that can damage relationships, career prospects, academic performance, and can even lead to suicidal tendencies. A patient with bipolar disorder has severe fluctuations in mood (poles) – from depression to mania. Usually, moods are normal in between the peaks and troughs”
Babycenter online reports, “The seasonal flu shot used in Canada is prepared from an inactivated virus and there is no evidence that it’s harmful to unborn babies. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization, NACI, recommends that pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy receive a flu shot, ideally during the months of October and November.
The NACI further stresses that it is particularly important that women who will be in the second and third trimesters during the flu season (November-April) receive the flu shot. Women in their final trimesters are at greater risk of hospitalization from flu complications.”