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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Is obesity of the mother affecting the IQ of the child?

Abstract (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"Globally, more than 20% of women of reproductive age are currently estimated to be obese. Children born to obese mothers are at higher risk of developing obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and asthma in adulthood. Increasing clinical and experimental evidence suggests that maternal obesity also affects the health and function of the offspring brain across the lifespan. This review summarizes the current findings from human and animal studies that detail the impact of maternal obesity on aspects of learning, memory, motivation, affective disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and neurodegeneration in the offspring. Epigenetic mechanisms that may contribute to this mother-child interaction are also discussed."

Covered topics (the letter size corresponds to the frequency of mentioning in the text):

Is obesity of the mother affecting the IQ of the child self-made word-cloud

Conclusions (as presented by the authors of the scientific work):

"The gestational environment plays a critical role on the long-term health of the fetus. Results from animal studies examining the impact of maternal obesity on the cognitive performance and behaviour of the offspring are currently mixed. Inter-experimental differences in diet composition (e.g., purified high fat or cafeteria diet), initiation (e.g., before or at the start of breeding), and duration (e.g., throughout gestation and/or lactation) of dietary manipulation make direct comparisons of results difficult. It is likely that timing of dietary intervention, age, sex, species, and maternal-pup interactions all contribute to the resistance or susceptibility of the offspring to developing anxiety, depression, memory impairments, and changes in motivation and attention. Current data from human cohort studies support a negative association between high maternal BMI and child IQ, as well as risk of developing depression and anxiety. A clear association between maternal obesity and increased risk of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder in the offspring has not yet been established and may be influenced by additional biological or social factors. To date, most of the work on the associated epigenetic mechanisms have focused on DNA methylation, and differential patterns of methylation have been identified in the brains of offspring born to lean vs. obese mothers in rodent models. Undoubtedly, new and exciting findings will soon help to unravel the complex processes that influence the developmental programming of the brain."

Full-text access of the referenced scientific work:

Contu L, Hawkes CA. A Review of the Impact of Maternal Obesity on the
Cognitive Function and Mental Health of the Offspring. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 May
19;18(5). pii: E1093. doi: 10.3390/ijms18051093. Review. PubMed PMID: 28534818.

Further reading:

Obesity (MedlinePlus):
"Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height.
Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might affect your weight include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active.
Being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. If you are obese, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases. For example, that means losing 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.
...read more".

Intelligence quotient (IQ) (Wikipedia):
"An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation "IQ" was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenzquotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests at University of Wrocław he advocated in a 1912 book.[1] Historically, IQ is a score obtained by dividing a person’s mental age score, obtained by administering an intelligence test, by the person’s chronological age, both expressed in terms of years and months. The resulting fraction is multiplied by 100 to obtain the IQ score.[2] When current IQ tests were developed, the median raw score of the norming sample is defined as IQ 100 and scores each standard deviation (SD) up or down are defined as 15 IQ points greater or less,[3] although this was not always so historically. By this definition, approximately two-thirds of the population scores are between IQ 85 and IQ 115. About 5 percent of the population scores above 125, and 5 percent below 75.[4][5]
Scores from intelligence tests are estimates of intelligence because concrete measurements (e.g. distance, mass) cannot be achieved given the abstract nature of the concept of "intelligence".[6] IQ scores have been shown to be associated with such factors as morbidity and mortality,[7][8] parental social status,[9] and, to a substantial degree, biological parental IQ. While the heritability of IQ has been investigated for nearly a century, there is still debate about the significance of heritability estimates[10][11] and the mechanisms of inheritance.[12]
IQ scores are used for educational placement, assessment of intellectual disability, and evaluating job applicants. Even when students improve their scores on standardized tests, they do not always improve their cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention and speed.[13] In research contexts they have been studied as predictors of job performance, and income. They are also used to study distributions of psychometric intelligence in populations and the correlations between it and other variables. Raw scores on IQ tests for many populations have been rising at an average rate that scales to three IQ points per decade since the early 20th century, a phenomenon called the Flynn effect. Investigation of different patterns of increases in subtest scores can also inform current research on human intelligence
...read more".

Epigenetics (Wikipedia):
"Epigenetics are stable heritable traits (or "phenotypes") that cannot be explained by changes in DNA sequence.[1] The Greek prefix epi- (Greek: επί- over, outside of, around) in epigenetics implies features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" the traditional genetic basis for inheritance.[2] Epigenetics often refers to changes in a chromosome that affect gene activity and expression, but can also be used to describe any heritable phenotypic change that doesn't derive from a modification of the genome, such as prions. Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors, or be part of normal developmental program. The standard definition of epigenetic requires these alterations to be heritable,[3][4] either in the progeny of cells or of organisms.
The term also refers to the changes themselves: functionally relevant changes to the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of mechanisms that produce such changes are DNA methylation and histone modification, each of which alters how genes are expressed without altering the underlying DNA sequence. Gene expression can be controlled through the action of repressor proteins that attach to silencer regions of the DNA. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell's life, and may also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism;[5] instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.[6]
One example of an epigenetic change in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, as a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – continues to divide, the resulting daughter cells change into all the different cell types in an organism, including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels, etc., by activating some genes while inhibiting the expression of others.[7]
Historically, some phenomena not necessarily heritable have also been described as epigenetic. For example, epigenetic has been used to describe any modification of chromosomal regions, especially histone modifications, whether or not these changes are heritable or associated with a phenotype. The consensus definition now requires a trait to be heritable for it to be considered epigenetic.[4]
...read more".


Prof. Atanas G. Atanasov (Dr. habil., PhD)

Keywords relevant for this post: studies, scientific study, patients, research, clinical, pathophysiology, health, open access, journal, open access journals, science journal, free journal publication, online journal, open access publishing, open access articles, science magazine, journal science, journal of science, biochemistry, autism, autism spectrum disorder, signs of autism, obesity, weight loss, lose weight, weight reduction, cognitive function, epigenetics, high fat diet, maternal obesity, mental health, offspring brain, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, learning, memory, motivation, affective disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, neurodegeneration.

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