Analysis of data from a landmark public health study suggests that people who had a low birth weight are more likely to experience depression and anxiety later in life. Canadian researchers used information from the Medical Research Council’s National Survey of Health and Development, one of the longest-running cohort studies ever. The survey tracked more than 4,600 people born in Great Britain in 1946 for symptoms of anxiety and depression over a 40-year period. They found that individuals who suffered from symptoms of depression and anxiety were more likely to have been smaller babies at birth and to have reached motor developmental milestones (like standing and walking for the first time) later. This supports research that suggests that prenatal stress may have a significant effect on the developing foetal brain, permanently altering response to stress. (A longitudinal typology of symptoms of depression and anxiety over the life course. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Dec 1;62(11):1265-71).

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