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Prenatal famine exposure and cognition at age 59 years.
Int J Epidemiol 2011; 40(2):327-37IJ

Abstract

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.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21247885

Citation

de Groot, Renate Hm, et al. "Prenatal Famine Exposure and Cognition at Age 59 Years." International Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 40, no. 2, 2011, pp. 327-37.
de Groot RH, Stein AD, Jolles J, et al. Prenatal famine exposure and cognition at age 59 years. Int J Epidemiol. 2011;40(2):327-37.
de Groot, R. H., Stein, A. D., Jolles, J., van Boxtel, M. P., Blauw, G. J., van de Bor, M., & Lumey, L. (2011). Prenatal famine exposure and cognition at age 59 years. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(2), pp. 327-37. doi:10.1093/ije/dyq261.
de Groot RH, et al. Prenatal Famine Exposure and Cognition at Age 59 Years. Int J Epidemiol. 2011;40(2):327-37. PubMed PMID: 21247885.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Prenatal famine exposure and cognition at age 59 years. AU - de Groot,Renate Hm, AU - Stein,Aryeh D, AU - Jolles,Jelle, AU - van Boxtel,Martin Pj, AU - Blauw,Gerard-Jan, AU - van de Bor,Margot, AU - Lumey,Lh, Y1 - 2011/01/18/ PY - 2011/1/21/entrez PY - 2011/1/21/pubmed PY - 2011/6/8/medline SP - 327 EP - 37 JF - International journal of epidemiology JO - Int J Epidemiol VL - 40 IS - 2 N2 - 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. SN - 1464-3685 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21247885/Prenatal_famine_exposure_and_cognition_at_age_59_years_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/ije/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ije/dyq261 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -