Neuro-developmental disorders are associated with foetal exposure to maternal stress or infection and malnutrition, according to a new study.
Sex is another factor that influences the risk for psychiatric disorders.
In the new study, authors discuss findings where maternal stress has been associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia in male offspring and may alter foetal brain growth.
Maternal stress, infection, and/or exposure to famine may also contribute to an elevated risk for depression in offspring.
So later influences, such as exposure to child abuse and/or neglect, must also be taken into account.
By applying the principals of personalized medication, one can view this science as "personalized prevention," as it aims to apply these principals earlier in the pathological process.
Understanding and defining these disease mechanisms at the very earliest points in life could help identify novel targets in therapy and prevention.
The review has been published in Biological Psychiatry.