Scientists Have Found A Possible Cause Of Impaired Memory And Attention In Children

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Scientists Have Found A Possible Cause Of Impaired Memory And Attention In Children
Scientists Have Found A Possible Cause Of Impaired Memory And Attention In Children
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Scientists have found a possible cause of impaired memory and attention in children

The stress that mothers-to-be experience can have consequences for the development of the fetal brain, scientists have found using modern imaging methods.

Scientists have found a possible cause of impaired memory and attention in children
Scientists have found a possible cause of impaired memory and attention in children

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The stress that mothers-to-be experience may have implications for fetal brain development, according to an American study published in the JAMA Network Open.

The study involved 119 healthy pregnant women with high levels of education and income, who agreed to have two MRIs of the fetal brain during the third trimester.

During both visits, participants completed standard questionnaires about stress, symptoms of anxiety, and depression. The level of stress above average was recorded in 27% of women, the level of anxiety - in 26%, indicators of depression - in 11%.

Scientists have found a link between these symptoms in the mother and differences in fetal brain structure. When a pregnant woman is under stress, the size of the fetal hippocampus (the region of the brain responsible for memory, emotion, and learning) is usually smaller.

There were also revealed signs of increased "gyrification" (the process of formation of convolutions and furrows of the brain in the fetus) on the surface of the brain, which can affect the number of neurons and connections between them.

Previous studies have shown that changes in these areas of the brain are associated with impaired attention and memory, learning difficulties and emotional control.

“Long-term follow-up is needed to confirm whether these children develop these problems during infancy and childhood. There are proven screening tools. We need to make it simple and routine to drive these important conversations and dispel the stigma associated with mental health issues, so moms and their babies will be healthier,”said senior study author Catherine Limperopoulos, head of the Children's Brain Development Center. National Hospital in Washington.

Symptoms of depression during pregnancy are associated with lower levels of creatine and choline in the fetal brain. As noted by the authors, levels of these chemicals normally rise in late pregnancy as the rate of new cell formation increases.

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