Seasonality of Influences on Disorders of Psychological Development: A Synopsis

Helen V. Ratajczak, Robert B. Sothern


There are many contributing factors to the development of disorders of psychological development that can interact in a complicated way to cause alterations of gene expression that result in autism, schizophrenia, or other disorders.  It is therefore important to consider the environment in which we live, with its changing seasons and their manifestation of changes in infectious disease rates, the survival of pathogens outside the host, host behavior, altered immune response of mammals, and the abundance of vectors and non-human hosts of diseases.  The accumulated impact of these forces on a developing human fetus can cause abnormal brain development, which, after birth, can later manifest as a disorder of psychological development such as autism or schizophrenia.  While the scientific literature confirms a seasonality to the birth of individuals who later develop schizophrenia, there are conflicting data regarding a seasonality of birth for autism.  Similarities between autism and schizophrenia are presented, in addition to influences affecting psychological development, including infectious disease, genetics, sunlight and vitamin D, pregnancy, immunology, and gland and system dysfunction.


seasonality of influences, disorders of psychological development, schizophrenia, autism

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