Washington: A study has suggested that pregnant women who smoke could be putting their child at an increased risk of bipolar disorder (BD).
Researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, in collaboration with scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, evaluated offspring from a large cohort of pregnant women who participated in the Child Health and Development Study (CHDS) from 1959-1966.
The study was based on 79 cases and 654 comparison subjects. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with a twofold increased risk of BD in their offspring.
The authors wrote that much of the psychopathology associated with prenatal tobacco exposure clusters around the 'externalizing' spectrum, which includes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and substance abuse disorders.
They said that although not diagnostically classified along the externalizing spectrum, BD shares a number of clinical characteristics with these disorders, including inattention, irritability, loss of self-control, and proclivity to drug/alcohol use.
In effect, children who were exposed to tobacco smoke in utero may exhibit some symptoms and behaviors that are found in BD.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.