Scientists from Mount Sinai have found a correlation between lithium exposure and birth defects. Lithium is a common medical treatment for bipolar disorder in countries other than the United States, as it reduces the extreme mood swings from depression to mania. The researchers found that exposing a fetus to lithium in the first trimester led to significantly more malformations in the baby. The study also found that lithium wasn’t associated with complications in the pregnancy itself, and that the amount of lithium-related defects was actually lower than what the researchers expected to find.
The Mount Sinai researchers were able to exchange data and findings with other scientists using NYSERNet’s R&E network.