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Flu During Pregnancy Linked to Schizophrenia

A bout of the flu during the first half of pregnancy may damage the fetal brain and raises the risk of children developing schizophrenia later in life. In a small 64-family sample, researchers found the risk of developing the major mental disorder in adult offspring rose seven-fold if the expectant mother had the flu during the first trimester. The study suggested factors that could damage the fetal brain including the mother's antibodies crossing the placenta and reacting with the fetus' developing immune system, the presence of genetic material from the strain of influenza, and the mother's elevated body temperature. However, an important thing to point out is that researchers say over-the-counter flu remedies also might cause central nervous system problems, and the study raises questions about routine vaccinations of women because the antibodies generated could damage a fetus. This is why it is so important to avoid the flu vaccine, especially during pregnancy. Although this is not flu season, you can start to protect yourself now by reading these alternatives to the flu vaccine.

Yahoo News August 2, 2004

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