Document Detail

Prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch 'hunger winter' and addiction later in life.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18190668     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
AIMS: Prenatal exposure to severe famine has been associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia and affective disorders. We studied the relationship between prenatal exposure to famine during the Dutch hunger winter of 1944-45 and addiction later in life. DESIGN: A case-control study. SETTING: The Rotterdam city area during the Dutch hunger winter lasting from mid-October 1944 to mid-May 1945. From February 1945 to mid-May 1945 the hunger winter was characterized by a famine peak. PARTICIPANTS: Patients are native Dutch addicted patients from the Rotterdam Addiction Treatment Program and controls are native Dutch inhabitants of Rotterdam, born between 1944 and 1947. MEASUREMENT: Exposure to the whole hunger winter (< 1400 kcal/day) and the peak of the hunger winter (< 1000 kcal/day) was determined for each trimester of gestation. For each trimester the exposed/unexposed ratios were compared between patients and controls and quantified as odds ratios (OR). FINDINGS: The odds of first-trimester gestational exposure to famine during the total hunger winter was significantly higher among patients receiving treatment for an addictive disorder [OR = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10-1.64]. Stratification by sex shows that the odds of exposure during the first trimester was significantly higher only among men (OR = 1.34, 95% CI 1.05-1.72), but not among women (OR = 1.26, 95% CI 0.88-1.81). The odds of exposure to the peak of the hunger winter during the first trimester of gestation were also significantly higher among addiction treatment patients (OR = 1.61, 95% CI 1.22-2.12). We did not find any significant differences for the second and third trimesters of gestation. CONCLUSION: First-trimester prenatal exposure to famine appears to be associated with addiction later in life. The study confirms the adverse influence of severe malnutrition on brain development and maturation, confirms the influence of perinatal insults on mental health in later life and gives rise to great concern about the possible future consequences for the hunger regions in our world.
Ernst J Franzek; Niels Sprangers; A Cecile J W Janssens; Cornelia M Van Duijn; Ben J M Van De Wetering
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2008-01-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Addiction (Abingdon, England)     Volume:  103     ISSN:  0965-2140     ISO Abbreviation:  Addiction     Publication Date:  2008 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-02-13     Completed Date:  2008-06-10     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9304118     Medline TA:  Addiction     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  433-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Bouman Mental Health Care Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Case-Control Studies
Middle Aged
Netherlands / epidemiology
Pregnancy Trimesters
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
Sex Factors
Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology,  etiology*

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