Smaller babies prone to depression later

Dec. 5, 2007 at 4:23 PM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Plump babies may be happy babies after all, as a Canadian study found low birth-weight babies are more likely to suffer depression and anxiety later in life.

Lead author Ian Colman of the University of Alberta's School of Public Health in Edmonton and colleagues at the University of Cambridge and University College London -- both in England -- analyzed data from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, which tracked some 4,600 people born in Britain in 1946 for anxiety and depression over a 40-year period.

"Being born small isn't necessarily a problem. It is a problem if you were born small because of adverse conditions in the womb -- and low birth weight is what we looked at in this study because it is considered a marker of stress in the womb," Colman said in a statement. "When a mother is really stressed, blood flow to the uterus is restricted and the fetus gets fewer nutrients, which tends to lead to lower birth weight."

The findings are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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