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Evid Based Med doi:10.1136/eb-2012-101148
  • Aetiology
  • Cohort study

Cognitive ability in old age may be determined in the womb

  1. Monique Robinson
  1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, West Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to
    Dr Monique Robinson Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, PO Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia; moniquer{at}ichr.uwa.edu.au

Commentary on:

Context

In the past few years, there has been increasing evidence that hypertensive diseases of pregnancy lead to later adverse behavioural and cognitive consequences for offspring.1 The recent study by Tuovinen et al2 colleagues is uniquely designed to explore whether the link between hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and poor offspring cognition (which they first observed in their 2011 paper assessing outcomes at age 20) persists into old age.

Methods

Using data from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, the authors matched 146 men born to hypertensive pregnancies with 252 born to normotensive pregnancies and compared cognitive ability at a mean age of 68.5 years. Cognitive testing involved verbal, nonverbal and arithmetic subtests that were summed to provide an indicator of general ability.

Findings

After adjusting …