Increased Psoriasis Risk Linked to Prenatal Maternal Stress

HealthDay News — Prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement is associated with psoriasis only for children born to a mother who lost a partner/spouse or an older child, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Xiaoqin Liu, PhD, from the National Center for Register-Based Research at Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues examined whether prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement increases the risk of offspring psoriasis in a register-based cohort study involving 1,811,917 live singletons. If mothers lost a child, partner/spouse, parent, or sibling during pregnancy or up to 12 months before pregnancy, the children were assigned to the bereaved group.

The researchers found that 7,956 children were hospitalized or prescribed medications for psoriasis during 28 million person-years of follow-up. By age 30 years, 1.54% and 1.34% of children from the bereaved and non-bereaved group, respectively, were diagnosed with psoriasis. In general, prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement was not associated with the risk of psoriasis (hazard ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.2). An increased risk of psoriasis was seen for children born to mothers who lost a partner/spouse or an older child (hazard ratio, 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.73).

“Prenatal exposure to the most stressful life event may contribute to the development and/or exacerbation of psoriasis,” the authors wrote.

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Liu X, Chen J, Olsen J, et al. Prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement and offspring psoriasis: a Danish nationwide cohort study. Br J Dermatol. 2016 Dec 7. doi:10.1111/bjd.15224 [Epub ahead of print]