Being born in winter-apring and at around the time of an influenza pandemic are risk factors for the development of schizophrenia: The Apna Study in Navarre, Spain
Keywords: 
Season of birth
Influenza pandemic
Neurodevelopmental hypothesis
Schizophrenia
Issue Date: 
2021
ISSN: 
2077-0383
Note: 
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).
Citation: 
Álvarez de Mon-González, M. (Miguel Ángel); Guillén-Aguinaga, S.; Pereira-Sánchez, V. (Víctor); et al. "Being born in winter-apring and at around the time of an influenza pandemic are risk factors for the development of schizophrenia: The Apna Study in Navarre, Spain". Journal of Clinical Medicine. 10 (13), 2021, 2859
Abstract
Background: We analyzed the relationship between the prevalence of schizophrenia and the season of birth and gestation during a period of an influenza pandemic. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of a prospective population-based cohort of 470,942 adults. We fitted multivariant logistic regression models to determine whether the season of birth and birth in an influenza-pandemic year (1957, 1968, 1977) was associated with schizophrenia. Results: 2077 subjects had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Logistic regression identified a significantly greater prevalence of schizophrenia in men than in women (OR = 1.516, CI 95% = 1.388-1.665); in those born in the winter or spring than in those born in the summer or autumn (OR = 1.112, CI 95% = 1.020-1.212); and in those born in a period of an influenza pandemic (OR = 1.335, CI 95% = 1.199-1.486). The increase in risk was also significant when each influenza pandemic year was analyzed separately. However, neither month of birth nor season of birth, when each of the four were studied individually, were associated with a statistically significant increase in that risk. Conclusions: The winter-spring period and the influenza pandemics are independent risk factors for developing schizophrenia. This study contradicts many previous studies and thus revitalizes a locked debate in understanding the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of this disorder.

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