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Birth weight and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort: longitudinal population based study

Richards, M; Hardy, R; Kuh, D; Wadsworth, MEJ; (2001) Birth weight and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort: longitudinal population based study. BRIT MED J , 322 (7280) 199 - 203. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective To examine the association between birth weight and cognitive function in the normal population.Design A longitudinal, population based, birth cohort study.Participants 3900 males and females born in 1946.Main outcome measures Cognitive function from childhood to middle life (measured at ages 8, 11, 15, 26, and 43 years).Results Birth weight was significantly and positively associated with cognitive ability at age 8 (with an estimated standard deviation score of 0.44 (95%, confidence interval 0.28 to 0.59)) between the lowest and highest birthweight categories after sex, father's social class, mother's education, and birth order were controlled for. This association was evident across the normal birthweight range (> 2.5 kg) and so was not accounted for exclusively by low birth weight The association was also observed at ages 11, 15, and 26, and weakly at age 43, although these associations were dependent on the association at age 8. Birth weight was also associated with education, with those of higher. birth weight more likely to have achieved higher qualifications, and this effect was accounted for partly by cognitive function at age 8.Conclusions Birth weight was associated with cognitive ability at age 8 in the general population, and in the normal birthweight range. The effect at this age largely explains associations between birth weight and cognitive function at subsequent ages. Similarly, the association between birth weight and education was accounted for partly by earlier cognitive scores.

Type: Article
Title: Birth weight and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort: longitudinal population based study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Keywords: GROWTH-FACTORS, FOLLOW-UP, INSULIN, BRAIN, REGRESSION
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/6825
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