The risk of psychiatric symptoms among pre-teen children was highest among those with multiple classes of prenatal exposures, such as unplanned pregnancy, substance use, or obstetrical complications.
Joshua Roffman, MD
Joshua Roffman, MD
Director, Mass General Early Brain Development Initiative
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Departments, Centers, & Programs:
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
- MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine
American Board Certifications
- Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Dr. Roffman's research is focused on prevention of psychiatric illness, and builds on clinical and research training in brain imaging, genetics, and clinical trials. He and his team have conducted pioneering work demonstrating neuroprotective effects of folic acid, both in patients with schizophrenia and in early brain development. The Mass General Early Brain Development Initiative, founded by Dr. Roffman and colleagues in Psychiatry, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Medicine in 2019, seeks to broaden this work by identifying other early-life interventions that promote brain health in children and adolescents, especially those who are at increased risk for neuropsychiatric disorders due to family history or adverse environmental exposures.
These efforts are built around several longitudinal cohort studies, including the MGH Brain health Begins Before Birth (B4) study, a "learning" birth cohort that enrolls women early their pregnancy and follows their children's brain development through childhood. As promising interventions are identified through B4, they will be introduced in clinical trials enrolling women undergoing primary and routine obstetric care at MGH. Our research program also studies longer-term effects of prenatal exposures on adolescent brain development, as participants approach the age of highest risk for onset of psychiatric conditions.