Infection: A mental risk for kids?

Posted at 10:05 AM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 12:46:15-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Mental health disorders are the most common conditions in childhood. In fact, more than 17 million kids in the United States have or have had a psychiatric disorder. A new study shows some of these problems could be due to an unlikely source.

One out of every five children experiences a mental health disorder in a given year.

Dayna Long, MD, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, explains, “Trauma and adversity is really a public health crisis at this point. What we’re seeing is that the vast majority of our families are under an immense amount of stress.”

A new study shows that there may be another culprit: infections! Researchers from Denmark found that children who had been hospitalized with an infection had an 84 percent increased risk of suffering a mental disorder and a 42 percent increased risk of being prescribed medicine for a mentaldisorder.

“We are learning a lot about what it means for a child to be under toxic stress,” Dr. Long continued.

In the study, infections were linked to a wide range of disorders such as OCD, Autism, ADHD, personality disorder, psychotic disorders, and more. Scientists suspect that the body’s inflammatory reaction that happens while fighting an infection can affect the brain. They say future research may offer more clues about this curious association.

Patients had more than a five times increased risk of developing a mental health problem in the first three months after being in the hospital for an infection.