Mom's high blood pressure in pregnancy could affect child's IQ in old age

October 3, 2012, University of Helsinki

New research from the University of Helsinki, Finland, suggests that a mother's high blood pressure during pregnancy may have an effect on her child's thinking skills all the way into old age. The study is published in the October 3, 2012, online issue of Neurology.

"High blood pressure and related conditions such as preeclampsia complicate about 10 percent of all pregnancies and can affect a baby's environment in the womb," said study author Katri Räikkönen, PhD. "Our study suggests that even declines in thinking abilities in old age could have originated during the when the majority of the development of occurs."

Researchers looked at medical records for the mother's blood pressure in pregnancy for 398 men who were born between 1934 and 1944. The men's thinking abilities were tested at age 20 and then again at an average age of 69. Tests measured language skills, math reasoning and visual and spatial relationships.

The study found that men whose mothers had high blood pressure while pregnant scored 4.36 points lower on thinking ability tests at age 69 compared to men whose mothers did not have . The group also scored lower at the age of 20 and had a greater decline in their scores over the decades than those whose mothers did not have problems with blood pressure. The finding was strongest for math-related reasoning.

The researchers also looked at whether affected these findings and found no change. Whether the baby's father was a manual laborer or an office worker also did not change the results.

Explore further: High blood pressure and pregnancy: Short- and long-term consequences

Related Stories

High blood pressure and pregnancy: Short- and long-term consequences

November 11, 2011
Two studies from the Mayo Clinic presented during the American Society of Nephrology's Annual Kidney Week provide new information related to high blood pressure during pregnancy.

New findings may help explain high blood pressure in pregnancy

October 31, 2011
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have discovered that the infiltration of white blood cells into an expectant mother's blood vessels may explain high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Breastfeeding benefits mothers with reduced blood pressure risk

November 2, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- While the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby are well established and some studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease, a new study ...

The effect of body mass index on blood pressure varies by race among children

September 21, 2012
Obesity in black children more severely impacts blood pressure than in white children who are equally overweight, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific ...

Vitamin D in pregnancy critical for brain development, study says

September 17, 2012
(HealthDay)—Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy could hinder babies' brain development, impeding their mental and motor skills, a new study suggests.

Recommended for you

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Even without nudging blood pressure up, high-salt diet hobbles the brain

January 16, 2018
A high-salt diet may spell trouble for the brain—and for mental performance—even if it doesn't push blood pressure into dangerous territory, new research has found.

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

Preterm babies may suffer setbacks in auditory brain development, speech

January 15, 2018
Preterm babies born early in the third trimester of pregnancy are likely to experience delays in the development of the auditory cortex, a brain region essential to hearing and understanding sound, a new study reveals. Such ...

BOLD view of white matter

January 15, 2018
The brain consists of gray matter, which contains the nerve cell bodies (neurons), and white matter, bundles of long nerve fibers (axons) that until recently were considered passive transmitters of signals between different ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.