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Adults born prematurely liable to more psychiatric problems

Adults born very prematurely experience higher rates of psychiatric symptoms than those who are born at full term, say researchers who call for early preventive interventions targeting such individuals


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Adults born very prematurely experience higher rates of psychiatric symptoms than those who are born at full term, a study says.

The results suggest that early preventive interventions should be extended to target individuals born very preterm, the authors say.

Researchers from King’s College London studied individuals who were born before 33 weeks’ gestation between 1979 and 1984 and were admitted to the neonatal unit of University College Hospital London within five days of birth.

Lower IQ

Participants were then entered into a follow-up study and were reassessed periodically from age one until 30.

The researchers studied 152 adults who were born before 33 weeks’ gestation, ranging from 24 to 32 weeks.

They compared these to 96 people born at full term, considered to be 37 to 40 weeks.

Results showed very preterm individuals had a significantly lower IQ and were more likely to report a lifetime psychiatric history.


Kroll J et al (2018) A dimensional approach to assessing psychiatric risk in adults born very preterm. Psychological Medicine. doi.org/10.1017/S0033291717003804

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