Risk of neurological, eye and ear disease in offspring to parents with schizophrenia or depression compared with offspring to healthy parents

Elin Dianna Gunnarsdóttir, Jonas Hällgren, Christina M. Hultman, Thomas F. McNeil, Milita Crisby, Sven Sandin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Neurological, visual and hearing deviations have been observed in the offspring of parents with schizophrenia. This study test whether children to parents hospitalized with schizophrenia have increased the likelihood of childhood neurological disorder. Methods Among all parents in Sweden born 1950-1985 and with offspring born 1968-2002: 7107 children with a parent hospitalized for schizophrenia were compared to 172 982 children with no parents hospitalized for schizophrenia or major depression, as well as to 32 494 children with a parent hospitalized for major depression as a control population with another severe psychiatric outcome. We estimated relative risks (RR) and two-sided 95% confidence intervals calculated from Poisson regression. Results Children to parents with schizophrenia were more likely than controls to have been hospitalized before the age of 10 with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, RR = 1.76 (95% CI: 1.15-2.69); epilepsy, RR = 1.78 (95% CI: 1.33-2.40), combined neurological disease, RR = 1.33 (95% CI: 1.11-1.60) and certain diseases of the eye, RR = 1.92 (95% CI: 1.17-3.15) and ear, RR = 1.18 (95% CI: 1.05-1.32). Similar disease-risk-pattern was found for children to parents hospitalized with a diagnosis of major depression. A specific risk increase for strabismus RR = 1.21 (95%CI: 1.05-1.40) was found for off-spring with parental depression. Conclusions Compared with children to healthy parents, children to parents with schizophrenia have increased risk of a variety of neurological disorders as well as visual and hearing disorders at an early age. The risk increase was not specific to schizophrenia but was also seen in children to parents with a diagnosis of major depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2710-2716
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume48
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge Dr. P?r Spar?n, Prof. Karolinska Institutet, for excellence in providing data, discussions when initiating the study and scientific support and advice. This work was supported in part by the Seaver Foundation; Sven Sandin, PhD, is a Seaver Faculty Scholar.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cambridge University Press.

Other keywords

  • Ear disease
  • epidemiology
  • eye disease
  • major depression
  • neurodevelopment
  • neurological disease
  • offspring
  • population based
  • Schizophrenia

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