Low weight gain in infancy and suicide in adult life

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7029.510 (Published 24 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:510

The evidence doesn't support the theory

  1. Chris Hollis
  1. Clinical lecturer Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    EDITOR,—David Barker and colleagues suggest that suicide in adulthood may be a direct consequence of low weight during the first year of life.1 This deterministic theory of development is based on the idea of fetal programming of neuroendocrine function, which is a common cause of poor weight gain in infancy and of depression, leading to suicide, in later life. This is in contrast with modern studies of psychosocial risk, which suggest that development is a non-linear, probabilistic process—and is not based on linear, deterministic principles.2

    The evidence presented in the …

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