According to the study, mother’s obesity can hamper the development of the child’s brain

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New York: According to a new study, obesity in pregnant mothers may be a contributing factor to hindering the brain development of children.
Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the investigation linked high brain mass index (BMI) to an indicator of obesity, changes in two brain regions, the prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula. These areas play an important role in decision making and behavior, with earlier disruptions being associated with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and overeating.
In their new study, published online today (August 11) in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, investigators examined 197 groups of metabolically active nerve cells in the fetus’s brain. Using millions of computations, the study authors divided the groups into 16 meaningful subgroups based on more than 19,000 possible connections between groups of neurons. They found only two regions of the brain where their relationship to each other was statistically strongly associated with the mother’s BMI.
Moriah Thomson, PhD, Barackett Associate Professor, said, “Our findings confirm that mother’s obesity may play a role in fetal brain development, which is some of the cognitive and metabolic seen in children born to mothers with high BMI.” May explain health-related concerns. ” Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health.
As obesity rates are increasing in the United States, it is more important than ever to understand how the condition can affect brain development, says Thomson, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone .
Previous studies showing an association between obesity and brain development have mostly looked at cognitive function in children after birth. Changes in fetal brain activity in the fetus and early six months of pregnancy are believed to be the first to be investigated.
Thomson states that this approach was designed to eliminate the potential effects of breastfeeding and other environmental factors occurring after birth and to investigate the early origins of the negative effects of maternal BMI on the brain of the developing child.
To investigate, the research team recruited 109 women with BMIs from 25 to 47. (According to the National Institutes of Health, women are considered “overweight” if they have a BMI of 25 or more and “obese” if their BMI is 30 and over.) Women were six to nine months pregnant. .
The research team used MRI imaging to measure fetal brain activity and map patterns of communication between large numbers of brain cells clustered together in different regions of the brain. Then, they compared study participants to identify differences in how groups of neurons communicate with each other based on BMI.
Investigators cautioned that their study was not designed to draw a straight line between those differences and eventual cognitive or behavioral problems in children. The study looked at only fetal brain activity. But, Thomson says, they now plan to follow the children of the participants to determine if brain activity turns into ADHD, behavioral issues, and other health risks.

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