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

October 3, 2012

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

Gene mutation causes low sensitivity to pain

December 13, 2017
A UCL-led research team has identified a rare mutation that causes one family to have unusually low sensitivity to pain.

Activating MSc glutamatergic neurons found to cause mice to eat less

December 13, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers working at the State University of New York has found that artificially stimulating neurons that exist in the medial septal complex in mouse brains caused test mice to eat less. In ...

Scientists discover blood sample detection method for multiple sclerosis

December 13, 2017
A method for quickly detecting signs of multiple sclerosis has been developed by a University of Huddersfield research team.

LLNL-developed microelectrodes enable automated sorting of neural signals

December 13, 2017
Thin-film microelectrode arrays produced at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have enabled development of an automated system to sort brain activity by individual neurons, a technology that could open the door ...

Intermittent fasting found to increase cognitive functions in mice

December 12, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—The Daily Mail spoke with the leader of a team of researchers with the National Institute on Aging in the U.S. and reports that they have found that putting mice on a diet consisting of eating nothing every ...

Discovery deepens understanding of brain's sensory circuitry

December 12, 2017
Because they provide an exemplary physiological model of how the mammalian brain receives sensory information, neural structures called "mouse whisker barrels" have been the subject of study by neuroscientists around the ...

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.