Birth Weight and Cognitive Ability in Childhood: A Systematic Review.

Department of Clinical and Surgical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 11/2004; 130(6):989-1013. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.6.989
Source: PubMed


Individual differences in cognitive ability may in part have prenatal origins. In high-risk (low birth weight/premature) babies, birth weight correlates positively with cognitive test scores in childhood, but it is unclear whether this holds for those with birth weights in the normal range. The authors systematically reviewed literature on the relationship between normal birth weight (more than 2,500 g) and childhood intelligence in term (37-42-week gestation) deliveries. Six studies met the inclusion criteria, and the authors present a comprehensive narrative review of these studies. There was a small, consistent, positive association between birth weight and childhood cognitive ability, even when corrected for confounders. Parental social class accounted for a larger proportion of the variance than birth weight, and these 2 variables were largely independent.

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Available from: Susan Shenkin, Jun 18, 2015
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    • "Micronutrient deficiencies (iodine, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12) during pregnancy and malnutrition from early childhood on (Engle & Fernandez , 2010; Grantham-McGregor, 1995) have found to negatively influence neurocognitive development and cognitive function (Black, 2003; Blusztajn & Mellott, 2012; Larque et al., 2012; Mitka, 2013; Nyaradi et al., 2013; Zimmermann, 2007). Also, associations between low birth weight and cognition have been described repeatedly (Shenkin et al., 2004; Singh et al., 2013). Finally, there are findings that suggest an influence of micronutrient deficiencies on TL (Moores et al., 2011; Paul, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Shorter telomere length (TL) has found to be associated with lower birth weight and with lower cognitive ability and psychiatric disorders. However, the direction of causation of these associations and the extent to which they are genetically or environmentally mediated are unclear. Within-pair comparisons of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins can throw light on these questions. We investigated correlations of within pair differences in telomere length, IQ, and anxiety/depression in an initial sample from Brisbane (242 MZ pairs, 245 DZ same sex (DZSS) pairs) and in replication samples from Amsterdam (514 MZ pairs, 233 DZSS pairs) and Melbourne (19 pairs selected for extreme high or low birth weight difference). Intra-pair differences of birth weight and telomere length were significantly correlated in MZ twins, but not in DZSS twins. Greater intra-pair differences of telomere length were observed in the 10% of MZ twins with the greatest difference in birth weight compared to the bottom 90% in both samples and also in the Melbourne sample. Intra-pair differences of telomere length and IQ, but not of TL and anxiety/depression, were correlated in MZ twins, and to a smaller extent in DZSS twins. Our findings suggest that the same prenatal effects that reduce birth weight also influence telomere length in MZ twins. The association between telomere length and IQ is partly driven by the same prenatal effects that decrease birth weight.
    Twin Research and Human Genetics 03/2015; 18(02):1-12. DOI:10.1017/thg.2015.3 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    • "Protein deficits, for example, have been associated with delayed brain development, as discussed by Morgane et al. (1993). In fact, while causal empirical evidence is limited, many studies in medical sciences and psychology suggest that low birth weight and other early life insults may lead to impaired cognitive development (Shenkin et al. (2004), Linnet et al. (2006), Mara (2003)). A large body of literature has also documented that schooling may be directly affected by in utero and early childhood conditions (Almond and Currie (2010), Glewwe and Miguel (2008), Currie (2009)). "
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    Journal of Development Economics 11/2014; 112. DOI:10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.10.003 · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    • "Cognitive abilities in childhood may work as a mediator since it is known that deprivation in utero and around birth is associated with lower IQ (Shenkin et al., 2004), and cognitive ability influences late-life health, cognition and dementia. Higher childhood intelligence was shown to improve cognitive performance at old age, while people with low childhood intelligence tend to experience cognitive decline (Bourne et al., 2007). "
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