Journal Mobile

DJ MacIntyre, D Blackwood
Journal Issue: 
Volume 35: Issue 3: 2005




Schizophrenia is a distressing and disabling condition, affecting about 1% of  the  population  worldwide.   It  is  caused  by  an  interaction  of  genetic  and environmental  factors  which  can  have  their  effect in  utero and  throughout development. Investigation of in utero risk factors for schizophrenia is fraught with methodological  difficulties.  Recent  news  reports  highlighted  work, by  Columbia University, which overcomes some of these problems.  Dr Brown and colleagues have shown, in line with previous investigations, that maternal influenza infection leads to a modest increase in the risk of developing schizophrenia. The mechanism of this action is unknown, but it is probably indirect.  It is too early to make public health policy recommendations regarding flu vaccination.