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Unformatted text preview: at people whose mothers were undernourished while pregnant had a significantly increased risk of major affective
disorders, such as mania and depression (/topic s /depres s /index .as px ) , severe enough to require hospitalization (American
Journal of Psychiatry, 2000).
Other researchers have shown that adverse events during pregnancy, including infections, toxin exposure and maternal
stress, can boost the fetus's future risk of problems such as depression, anxiety (/topic s /anx iety /index .as px ) , autism
( /topic s /autis m/index .as px ) , mood di sorders and attenti ondefi ci t hyperacti vi ty di sorder. Events i n earl y chi l dhood are al so
linked to persistent mental health problems. Childhood maltreatment, for example, increases the odds of developing
depression or posttraumatic stress disorder in adulthood.
Now, researchers are finally beginning to understand the biological processes that underlie these links—findings that
could point to new directions in treatment for mental illness and behavior disorders, and may even suggest routes to
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