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Childhood Insulin Levels Linked to Later Psychosis Risk

Additionally, major increase in body mass index during puberty tied to increased risk for depression as young adult

man looking depressed sitting in the gym

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- High insulin levels during childhood are associated with a higher risk for mental health problems in adulthood, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Benjamin I. Perry, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to assess whether specific developmental trajectories of fasting insulin (FI) levels (measured at ages 9, 15, 18, and 24 years; 5,790 participants) and body mass index (BMI; measured at ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, and 24 years; 10,463 participants) were associated with psychosis and depression at age 24 years.

The researchers identified three distinct trajectories for FI levels and five distinct trajectories for BMI, all of which were differentiated by mid-childhood. A persistently high FI level trajectory was associated with a psychosis at-risk mental state (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 5.01; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.76 to 13.19) and psychotic disorder (aOR, 3.22; 95 percent CI, 1.11 to 9.90). However, there was no association with depression (aOR, 1.38; 95 percent CI, 0.75 to 2.54). A major increase in BMI with puberty onset was associated with depression (aOR, 4.46; 95 percent CI, 2.38 to 9.87) but not psychosis (aOR, 1.98; 95 percent CI, 0.56 to 7.79).

"The cardiometabolic comorbidity of psychosis and depression may have distinct, disorder-specific early-life origins," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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