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Contribution of birth weight to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes: two-sample Mendelian randomisation

Orri, M; Pingault, J-B; Turecki, G; Nuyt, A-M; Tremblay, RE; Côté, SM; Geoffroy, M-C; (2021) Contribution of birth weight to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes: two-sample Mendelian randomisation. The British Journal of Psychiatry 10.1192/bjp.2021.15. (In press).

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Low birth weight is associated with adult mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic problems. However, the causal nature of these associations remains difficult to establish owing to confounding. AIMS: To estimate the contribution of birth weight to adult mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes using two-sample Mendelian randomisation, an instrumental variable approach strengthening causal inference. METHOD: We used 48 independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic instruments for birth weight (genome-wide association studies' total sample: n = 264 498) and considered mental health (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, suicide attempt), cognitive (intelligence) and socioeconomic (educational attainment, income, social deprivation) outcomes. RESULTS: We found evidence for a contribution of birth weight to ADHD (OR for 1 s.d. unit decrease (~464 g) in birth weight, 1.29; 95% CI 1.03-1.62), PTSD (OR = 1.69; 95% CI 1.06-2.71) and suicide attempt (OR = 1.39; 95% CI 1.05-1.84), as well as for intelligence (β = -0.07; 95% CI -0.13 to -0.02) and socioeconomic outcomes, i.e. educational attainment (β = -0.05; 95% CI -0.09 to -0.01), income (β = -0.08; 95% CI -0.15 to -0.02) and social deprivation (β = 0.08; 95% CI 0.03-0.13). However, no evidence was found for a contribution of birth weight to the other examined mental health outcomes. Results were consistent across a wide range of sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the hypothesis that birth weight could be an important element on the causal pathway to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: Contribution of birth weight to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes: two-sample Mendelian randomisation
Location: England
DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2021.15
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2021.15
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Mendelian randomisation, Psychiatric disorders, birth weight, intelligence, socioeconomic outcomes
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122203
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