Nistler CoBPA Faculty Research

Celebrate the impact of our research.

Dr. Chih Ming Tan article accepted in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Chih Ming Tan for his article accepted in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (JQL2).

Title: “Robust determinants of neurocognitive development in children: evidence from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study

Journal: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (JQL Level 2)

Authors: Chittaranjan S. Yajnik (Diabetes Unit, KEM Hospital Research Center, Pune, India), Chih Ming Tan (University of North Dakota), Vidya Bhate (Vishwakarma University, Pune, India), Souvik Bandyopadhyay (Cytel, Inc.), Ashwini Sankar (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and Rishikesh V. Behere (Diabetes Unit, KEM Hospital Research Center, Pune, India)

Abstract: Neurocognitive development is a dynamic process over the life course and is influenced by intrauterine factors as well as later life environment. Using data from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study from 1994 to 2008, we investigate the association of in utero, birth, and child- hood conditions with offspring neurocognitive development in 686 participants of the cohort, at age 12 years. The life course exposure variables in the analysis include maternal pre-pregnancy size and nutrition during pregnancy, offspring birth measurements, nutrition and physical growth at age 12 years along with parental education and socio-economic status. We used the novel Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) approach; which has been shown to have better predictive performance over traditional tests of associations. Our study employs eight standard neurocognitive tests that measure intelligence, working memory, visuo-conceptual and verbal learning, and decision-making/attention at 12 years of age. We control for nutritional-metabolic information based on blood measurements from the pregnant mothers and the children at 12 years of age. Our findings highlight the critical role of parental education and socio-eco- nomic background in determining child neurocognitive performance. Maternal characteristics (pre-pregnancy BMI, fasting insulin during pregnancy) and child height at 12 years were also robust predictors on the BMA. A range of early factors – such as maternal folate and ferritin concentrations during pregnancy, and child’s head circumference at birth – remained important determinants of some dimensions of child’s neurocognitive development, but their associations were not robust once we account for model uncertainty. Our results suggest that intrauterine influences on long- term neurocognitive outcomes may be potentially reversible by post-birth remediation. In addition to the current nutritional interventions, public health policy should also consider social interventions in children born into families with low socio-economic status to improve human capital.