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Mother's high BP during pregnancy may affect child's brain power

According to the American Academy of Neurology journal, a mothers high blood pressure during pregnancy may affect her childs brain power throughout its...

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|Oct 5|magazine4 min read

According to the American Academy of Neurology journal, a mother’s high blood pressure during pregnancy may affect her child’s brain power throughout its life.

 The 400 men had their cognitive ability tested at the age of 20 and then again at the average age of 69.  Those whose mothers suffered from hypertension when pregnant scored less marks at each age and also showed greater score decline over the decades.  

Hypertension may alter conditions in the womb which impairs foetal growth.  Katri Raikonen, from the University of Helsinki, Finland said, “High blood and related conditions, such as pre-eclampsia, complicate about 10% of all pregnancies and can affect a baby’s environment in the womb.”  Mr. Katri also said, “Our study suggests that even declines in thinking abilities in old age could have originated during the prenatal period when the majority of the development of brain structure and function occurs.”

This is the first study that shows possible long lasting effects on cognitive ability.  

The study found that men whose mothers had high blood pressure while pregnant scored on average 4.36 points lower on thinking ability tests at the age of 69 compared to those whose mothers who never suffered the problem.  

Furthermore, the same group also had lower scores at the age of 20 and their scores dipped faster over decades than those of the other men.  The researchers also glanced at whether premature birth affected their findings and they did not find any change.

The results did not show any change as to whether the baby’s father was office worker or a manual labourer.