Mom's blood pressure may affect child's cognitive ability
Hypertension linked to premature births, small body size
High blood pressure or hypertension among expectant mothers may have lasting consequences for a child's cognitive ability, a new study suggests. A study conducted in Finland found that men whose mothers' pregnancies had complications from hypertensive disorders scored lower on tests of cognitive ability than those whose mothers did not.
The results suggest that a person's declines in thinking ability in old age could be tied to his or her mother's high blood pressure disorder whilst in the womb.
Researchers identified 398 men who had taken a basic ability test for the Finnish Defense Forces twice. The tests were conducted around age 20 and again around age 69. Study authors were able to look at verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial -- which means understanding visual representations and their spatial relationships -- scores.
Information about the mothers' blood pressure and urinary protein were also factored to find out which pregnancies were complicated by hypertension.
The study authors had previously shown that men whose mothers had high blood pressure while pregnant tended to score lower around the 20-year mark than men whose mothers did not.
Men whose mothers had a hypertensive disorder during pregnancy had worse scores on arithmetic reasoning and total cognitive ability in both young adulthood and old age.
These findings suggest that "a propensity toward lower cognitive ability has its origins in the prenatal period, when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs," the study said.
Associations with decline were strongest in math reasoning scores. Men's test scores were on average 4.36 points lower on total thinking ability in old age, and 2.88 points lower at age 20.
There were some admitted limitations to the Finish study. Men, not women were surveyed in the study, and only in the nation of Finland. Only men who survived into older age for the second testing were included, so these findings might be biased to already healthy men.
Also, there was not enough data to require two high blood pressure measurements in order to establish hypertensive disorders, so the authors found higher-than-average incidence of these conditions among the mothers in the study.
The results suggest that a person's declines in thinking ability in old age could be tied to his or her mother's high blood pressure disorder whilst in the womb. This theory is only is only through association and not proof. Especially given the limitations of the study, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Separate research has since begun looking for signs for hypertensive disorders in pregnant women.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Dementia epidemic only growing worse: 135 million sufferers could arrive by 2050
- Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? Their brains are certainly wired differently
- Drinking water from plastic cups, bottles may be causing migraine headaches
- Apocalypse imminent as bacteria evolve beyond antibiotics
- New injection gives arthritics new hope
- Overweight people need to curb blood pressure to cut heart attack risk, doctors say
- Dangerous fad diet involves kids eating cotton balls
- Heart attack symptoms show up ONE MONTH before they occur, doctors say
- Diabetes spreading at alarming rate throughout Asia
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?