College of Physicians and Surgeons
Obstetric complications and other perinatal exposures are hypothesized to increase the risk for schizophrenia. However, studies in this area are usually limited by sample size and by their reliance on maternal recall or hospital records to document exposure. We propose to ascertain the incidence of schizophrenia and to investigate the relations of perinatal exposures and obstetric events to later schizophrenia in the Jerusalem Perinatal Study (JPS) cohort, which has prospectively collected for research purposes. To our knowledge it is the world's largest prospective population-based research data set with demographic data and obstetric complications, having a total cohort size of 92,500 births. It includes data of antenatal maternal health, prenatal exposures, obstetric complications, parental health and history, as well as the offspring's pediatric health and a wealth of other measures. Another strength of this study will be its cross-linking records strategy. Data from this cohort will be cross-linked to the database of Israel's Psychiatric Case Registry (PCR), maintained by the Ministry of the Interior. Israel offers its diverse population equal access to its medical facilities that are linked by a database of identification numbers assigned at birth. This system is well suited for cross-linking to other databases. The PCR has already been extensively applied to research studies. This permits use of the ideal methodological approach to a continuous follow-up study design. Virtually complete ascertainment of the initial cohort can be determined from the Israeli Population Registry database at any time point. This study is well suited for examining exposures affecting neurodevelopment and schizophrenia. The aims of this study are to (1) ascertain schizophrenia in the offspring in the Jerusalem Perinatal Study; (2) investigate the effects of maternal health, early perinatal exposures, obstetric complications and demographic variables on later schizophrenia diagnosis; (3) explore associations among variables and suggest causal pathways that may underlie observed associations between exposures and the risk of schizophrenia; (4) obtain DNA for genetic studies; and, (5) lay the groundwork to add premorbid neuropsychological data, known to exist, to the cohort data.
Project Leader/Principal Investigator
Department of Psychiatry
National Institute for Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)