Siggurdsson, Engilbert; Eric Fombonne, Kapil Sayal, Stuart Checkley
British Journal of Psychiatry, 1999, 174, l2l-l27
38 cases of hospitalized adolescent mania, bipolar disorder, or depression with psychotic features (ages 11-18 at first hospitalization) were compared with 41 controls with unipolar depression. Cases were significantly more likely than controls to have lower IQ scores, a difference between verbal (higher) and performance (lower) subtest IQ scores, to have experienced childhood developmental impairments such as language delay, social delay, and motor skills delay, have a family history of bipolar disorder or a family history of psychosis. About 14% of kids in both groups had experienced "perinatal insults."
The article summaries other articles which found an association between neurodevelopmental delays and mood disorders, such as van Os, J., Jones, P.,Lewis, G., et al (l997), "Developmental precursors of affective illness in a general population birth cohort," Archives of General Psychiatry, 54,625-631. This study looked at 5,362 individuals born in the UK during the same week in 1946. Subjects with mood disorders by ages 13 and 15 years "attained motor milestones significantly later in early childhood than controls, and had double the risk of speech abnormalities." The authors concluded that "affective disturbances, especially the early-onset forms, are preceded by impaired neurodevelopment." The authors summarize several other studies with similar findings, including studies that found obstetric complications (birth difficulties) to be associated with early onset of mood disorders, and conclude that "our findings add to the increasing evidence that neurodevelopmental impairments act as vulnerability factors for early-onset affective disturbances, particularly the more severe ones."
(Abstract by Martha Hellander, The Balanced Mind Parent Network Executive Director)