child's IQ

Mother's depression might do the same to her child's IQ

Study finds maternal depression negatively impacts a child's cognitive development, infancy through age 16

April 17, 2018

Science Daily/University of California - San Diego

Roughly one in 10 women in the United States will experience depression. The consequences, however, may extend to their children, report researchers who found that a mother's depression can negatively affect a child's cognitive development up to the age of 16.

 

Researchers surveyed approximately 900 healthy children and their mothers living in Santiago, Chile at five-year intervals from the child's infancy through age 16. They observed how affectionate and responsive mothers were to their children at each age period, as well as how much mothers provided age-appropriate learning materials. Children were assessed on verbal cognitive abilities using standardized IQ tests during each assessment. Mothers were tested for symptoms of depression.

 

"We found that mothers who were highly depressed didn't invest emotionally or in providing learning materials to support their child, such as toys and books, as much as mothers who were not depressed. This, in turn, impacted the child's IQ at ages 1, 5, 10 and 16," said Patricia East, PhD, research scientist with the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "The consistency and longevity of these results speak to the enduring effect that depression has on a mother's parenting and her child's development."

 

On a scale from one to 19, the average verbal IQ score for all children in the study at age 5 was 7.64. Children who had severely depressed mothers were found to have an average verbal IQ score of 7.30 compared to a score of 7.78 in children without depressed mothers.

 

"Although seemingly small, differences in IQ from 7.78 to 7.30 are highly meaningful in terms of children's verbal skills and vocabulary," said East. "Our study results show the long term consequences that a child can experience due to chronic maternal depression."

 

Throughout the study period, at least half of the mothers were determined to be depressed based on a questionnaire with questions like, "Are you sad?" and "Do you find yourself crying?"

 

"For mothers in the study, there were many stressors in their lives. Most of the mothers, while literate, had only nine years of education, were not employed outside the home and often lived with extended family in small, crowded homes -- factors that likely contributed to their depression," said East. "Many mothers suffer from depression in the first six months after childbirth, but for some, depression lingers."

 

East said study data suggested approximately 20 percent of mothers who are severely depressed when their child turns age 1 remain depressed for a long time.

 

"For health care providers, the results show that early identification, intervention and treatment of maternal depression are key," said East. "Providing resources to depressed moms will help them manage their symptoms in a productive way and ensure their children reach their full potential."

 

Study authors said future steps include further analyzing the data to see how mothers' depression affects children's own depressive symptoms through childhood and adolescence and children's academic achievement and health, such as their likelihood of being overweight or obese.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180417090019.htm

Moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy do not harm baby's IQ

Moderate amounts do not cause behavioral problems, obesity

November 19, 2015

Science Daily/Nationwide Children's Hospital

Women drinking and eating moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy should be reassured that they are not harming their child's intelligence, according to a study from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The research, one of the first studies to focus on how in utero caffeine exposure affects a child's future intelligence (IQ) and behavior later in childhood, found caffeine did not lead to a reduced IQ or increased behavioral problems.

"We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior at 4 or 7 years of age," said Mark A. Klebanoff, MD, principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's and faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

 

Researchers analyzed a marker of caffeine in the blood of 2,197 expectant mothers who took part in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, conducted at multiple sites in the United States in 1959-74. According to the researchers, this was an era when coffee consumption during pregnancy was more prevalent than today, as there was little concern regarding the safety of caffeine. Therefore, the study was able to investigate a broader range of caffeine intake than if a similar study was done today.

 

Researchers looked at the association between a chemical called paraxanthine, caffeine's primary metabolite, at two points in pregnancy. They compared those levels to the child's IQ and behavior at 4 and 7 years of age.

 

Researchers found there were no consistent patterns between maternal caffeine ingestion and the development and behavior of those children at those points in their lives.

 

This study follows previous research regarding caffeine consumption during pregnancy conducted at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's. Dr. Klebanoff and Sarah Keim, PhD, co-author and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's, published a study in Epidemiology in March 2015 involving the same group of women from The Collaborative Perinatal Project and found that increased ingestion of caffeine during pregnancy did not increase the risk of childhood obesity.

 

Of the children in the study, about 11 percent were considered obese at 4 years and about 7 percent at 7 years. However, the researchers found no associations between their mother's caffeine intake and these occurrences of obesity.

 

"Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine or the equivalent to 1 or 2 cups of coffee per day," said Dr. Keim, who is also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151119211435.htm

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