Document Detail

Prenatal famine exposure and cognition at age 59 years.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21247885     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Despite the perceived importance of early life nutrition for mental development, few studies have related gestational undernutrition to later-life cognitive functioning. We investigated the consequences of gestational exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944-45 for cognitive functioning at the age of 59 years.
METHODS: We recruited men and women who were (i) born in birth clinics in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Leiden, between January 1945 and March 1946, whose mothers experienced famine during or immediately preceding pregnancy (n = 354); (ii) born in the same three institutions during 1943 and 1947, whose mothers did not experience famine during this pregnancy (n = 292); or (iii) same-sex siblings of those in the first two categories (n = 311). We assessed cognitive performance at the age of 59 years by means of a comprehensive test battery.
RESULTS: All cognitive functioning test scores were within normal ranges for this age group. There were no differences in cognitive performance at the age of 59 years between individuals exposed to gestational undernutrition and those without this exposure. For the general cognitive index, a summary measure across six functional domains (mean 100, standard deviation (SD) 15 points), famine exposure was associated with a decrease of 0.57 points [95% confidence interval (95% CI) -2.41 to 1.28] points. Individuals exposed to famine in gestational weeks 1-10 had a cognitive functioning index 4.36 (95% CI 8.04-0.67) points lower than those without this exposure. Within-sibling-pair analyses gave consistent results.
CONCLUSION: We found no overall association between maternal exposure to acute famine in pregnancy and cognitive performance of the offspring at the age of 59 years, but cannot rule out an association specific to early pregnancy exposure.
Renate Hm de Groot; Aryeh D Stein; Jelle Jolles; Martin Pj van Boxtel; Gerard-Jan Blauw; Margot van de Bor; Lh Lumey
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2011-01-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of epidemiology     Volume:  40     ISSN:  1464-3685     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Epidemiol     Publication Date:  2011 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-31     Completed Date:  2011-06-07     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7802871     Medline TA:  Int J Epidemiol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  327-37     Citation Subset:  IM    
Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Cognition / physiology*
Intelligence Tests
Middle Aged
Netherlands / epidemiology
Pregnancy Complications
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
Grant Support

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