Maternal psychiatric disorders does not increase type 1 diabetes risk in offspring

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Discover insights from a recent study investigating the potential link between maternal mood disorders and schizophrenia with the risk of type 1 diabetes in children, shedding light on factors impacting early childhood health.

Maternal psychiatric disorders does not increase type 1 diabetes risk in offspring | Image Credit: © Andrey Popov - © Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com.

Maternal psychiatric disorders does not increase type 1 diabetes risk in offspring | Image Credit: © Andrey Popov - © Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com.

A version of this article was initially published by HCP Live.

A recent study indicates that mothers with mood disorders and schizophrenia may not be significantly linked to an increased risk of their offspring developing type 1 diabetes.

Takeaways

  1. The study found no significant link between maternal mood disorders and schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring.
  2. While overall results were not conclusive, a noteworthy trend suggested that children born to mothers with bipolar disorder might have a clinically relevant but statistically nonsignificant increase in type 1 diabetes risk.
  3. Unlike previous research focusing on the risk of psychiatric disorders in individuals with type 1 diabetes, this study delves into the less-explored aspect of maternal psychiatric disorders potentially influencing the development of type 1 diabetes in their children.
  4. The study faced limitations, such as a low prevalence of type 1 diabetes in the sample (0.05%) and a low fertility rate in mothers with bipolar disorders, potentially impacting the statistical significance of the findings.
  5. Due to the rare occurrence of type 1 diabetes and a limited sample size, determining a conclusive association between maternal schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and offspring type 1 diabetes risk proved challenging for the researchers.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition typically diagnosed in early childhood, characterized by symptoms such as hypoglycemia, weight loss, and ketoacidosis. The autoimmune destruction of islet β-cells is a common factor in its pathology.

Given that maternal immune or cytokine changes can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta, there has been speculation that mothers with psychiatric disorders, which are recognized as disorders involving immune and inflammatory dysregulation, could potentially elevate the risk of type 1 diabetes in their offspring.

Previous studies have suggested a potential association between individuals with type 1 diabetes and an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. However, the reverse scenario, exploring the link between psychiatric disorders in mothers and the risk of type 1 diabetes in their offspring, has been less extensively investigated.

Conducting a new mother-infant dyad study, led by Yi-Chun Liu from the Department of Psychiatry at Changhua Christian Children’s Hospital in Changhua, Taiwan, the research aimed to determine whether mothers with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder were associated with an elevated risk of type 1 diabetes in their children.

Data collected from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database and the Maternal and Child Health Database spanning from 2004 to 2018 included 2,556,640 mother-child pairs, with 76,239 children born to mothers with major psychiatric disorders. Among these, 8322 had mothers with bipolar disorder, 4014 had mothers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders, and 71,170 had mothers with major depressive disorder.

The study compared the offspring of mothers with mood disorders and schizophrenia to those without such disorders, utilizing a control group of 2,480,401 children born to mothers without psychiatric disorders. Approximately half (52%) of both exposure and control groups were boys.

The results showed no significant differences in the risk of type 1 diabetes in the offspring of mothers with major psychiatric disorders compared to mothers without (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] of 0.86, 95% CI 0.58 – 1.24). Subgroup analysis revealed an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.81 for bipolar disorder mothers, indicating an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in their offspring (95% CI 0.83 – 2.82), while major depressive disorder exhibited an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.87 (95% CI 0.59 – 1.25). Unfortunately, an adjusted hazard ratio for mothers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder could not be determined because of the limited number of offspring with type 1 diabetes (less than 3).

Although the study did not find a significant association between type 1 diabetes risk in offspring and mothers with mood disorders and schizophrenia, children born to mothers with bipolar disorder did show a tendency to develop type 1 diabetes. The researchers noted that the lack of statistical significance may be influenced by the low prevalence of type 1 diabetes (0.05%) in the study and the relatively low fertility rate in mothers with bipolar disorders.

"In subgroup analysis, the point estimate of HR of [type 1 diabetes] in children born to mothers with bipolar disorder was clinically meaningful (aHR: 1.81), although not statistically significant," the investigators concluded. They added that there was no observed association between maternal major depressive disorder and the risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring.

The researchers also highlighted the challenge of estimating the association between the presence of schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder in mothers and the risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring because of the rare occurrence of type 1 diabetes and the limited sample size in this subgroup.

This article was written with the help of ChatGPT.

Reference

Liu YC, Liao YT, Chen VC, Chen YL. Association between maternal mood disorders and schizophrenia and the risk of type 1 diabetes in offspring: A nationwide cohort study. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2023;19:2511-2518. doi:10.2147/NDT.S437430

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