Parents’ low socioeconomic status during pregnancy impairs early fetal brain development
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2021 / PRNewswire / – A mother’s socio-economic status impacts babies even before birth, underscoring the need for policy interventions to support the well-being of pregnant women, new publication says research of the National Children’s Hospital.
A one-of-a-kind study of 144 pregnant women found that socioeconomic status (SES) impacts the womb, altering several key regions of the developing fetal brain as well as cortical characteristics. Parental occupation and educational attainment of low SES populations hamper early brain development, potentially affecting neuronal, socio-emotional, and cognitive functions later in the child’s life.
Having a clear understanding of early brain development can also help policymakers identify intervention approaches such as educational assistance and vocational training to support and optimize the well-being of people with low SES as they are faced with multiple psychological and physical stressors that can influence children’s brain development. Read et al. note in the study published in JAMA network open.
“Although there has been extensive research on the interplay between socioeconomic status and brain development, so far little is known about exactly when brain development is impaired in people. at high risk for poor development outcomes, ”said Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., director of the Developing Brain Institute and principal author. “There are many reasons why these children may be vulnerable, including high rates of maternal depression and prenatal anxiety. Later in life, these children may suffer from conduct disorders and neurocognitive disorders necessary to acquire knowledge, which is the basis for thriving in school, work or life. “
The results suggest that fetuses carried by women with a low socioeconomic background had reduced regional brain growth and accelerated cerebral gyrification and surface folding patterns on the brain. This observation in populations with low SES may in part be explained by high parental stress and may be associated with neuropsychiatric disorders and mental illness later in life.
In contrast, fetuses carried by women with higher level of education, occupation, and SSE scores showed an increase in white matter, cerebellum and brainstem volume during the prenatal period, as well as an increase in the volume of white matter, cerebellum and brainstem. lower gyrification index and sulcus depth in the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes of the brain. These critical prenatal brain growth and development processes lay the foundation for normal brain function, which prepares the infant for life outside the womb, enabling it to reach key developmental milestones after birth, including including walking, speaking, learning and social skills.
There is also a lack of knowledge in the association between socioeconomic status and fetal cortical folding – when the brain undergoes structural changes to create sulcus and gyrus regions. The results of the study on accelerated gyrification in weak SES add to the scientific record, helping to inform future research, Limperopoulos added.
The National Children’s Research Team collected data from 144 healthy women 24 to 40 weeks gestation with uncomplicated pregnancies. To establish parameters of socioeconomic status, which included occupation and education instead of family income, parents completed a questionnaire at the time of each brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) visit. The researchers used MRI to measure fetal brain volumes, including cortical gray matter, white matter, deep gray matter, cerebellum, and brainstem. Of the 144 participants, the scientists scanned 40 brain fetuses twice during pregnancy, and the rest were scanned once. 3-dimensional brain calculus models in healthy fetuses have helped determine the cortical folding of the fetal brain.
Potential proximal risk factors such as maternal distress were also measured in the study using a questionnaire representing 60% of participants but, based on the limited data available, there was no significant association. with low and high socioeconomic status, nor with brain volume and cortical characteristics.
About the National Children’s Hospital
National Children’s Hospital, based in Washington DC, celebrates 150 years of pediatric care, research and community engagement. Volunteers opened the hospital in 1870 with 12 beds for children displaced after the Civil War. Today, 150 years stronger, it is one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country. It is ranked # 1 for newborn care for the fourth year in a row and ranked in all specialties assessed by US News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. In 2021, the National Children’s Research and Innovation Campus opened, the first in the country dedicated to pediatric research. The Children’s National has been named a magnet three times in a row® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care. This pediatric academic health system provides specialist care through a network of practical, community-based primary care and specialist care facilities in the DC metropolitan area, including Maryland and Northern virginia suburbs. Children’s National is home to the National Research Institute for Children and Sheikh Zayed Institute for innovation in pediatric surgery and is the seventh highest NIH-funded children’s hospital in the country. He is recognized for his expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at local, regional and national levels.
For more information, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Show original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/low-parental-socioeconomic-status-during-pregnancy-alters-early-fetal-brain-development-301257728.html
SOURCE National Children’s Hospital