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Folic Acid Exposure Linked with Psychosis Reduction

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Jul 3; Eryilmaz, et al

There is an association between gestational exposure to fortification of grain products with folic acid and altered cortical development and, in turn, a reduction in the risk of psychosis in youths. This according to a recent retrospective, observational clinical cohort study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) among 292 youths aged 8-18, born between January 1993-December 2001 (inclusive of folic acid fortification rollout ±3.5 years). In addition, researchers studied 2 independent, observational, community-based cohorts, comprising 1,078 youths aged 8-18 born throughout (Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort [PNC], 1992-2003) or before (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 1983-1995) the rollout of folic acid fortification. They found:

  • The MGH cohort demonstrated exposure-associated cortical thickness increases in bilateral frontal and temporal regions and emergence of quadratic (delayed) age-associated thinning in temporal and parietal regions.
  • The contemporaneous PNC cohort also exhibited exposure-associated delays of cortical thinning, located in similar regions and with similar durations of delay as in the MGH cohort.
  • Flatter thinning profiles in frontal, temporal, and parietal regions were associated with lower odds of psychosis spectrum symptoms in the PNC cohort.
Citation:

Eryilmaz H, Dowling KF, Huntington FC, et al. Association of prenatal exposure to population-wide folic acid fortification with altered cerebral cortex maturation in youths. [Published online ahead of print July 3, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1381.