Poor cognitive performance linked with low-folate status in mothers’ early pregnancy

Previous studies have suggested that prenatal maternal folate deficiency is associated with reduced prenatal brain growth and psychological problems in offspring.  

Newly results about association between prenatal folate status and children’s brain anatomy have been presented in a research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in early 2016 .

The study was carried out at the Erasmus University Medical Center, in the Netherland, and is part of the Generation R Study, which looked at nearly 10,000 pregnant Dutch women in a period between 2002 and 2006.

The aims of the study were to investigate whether prenatal maternal folate insufficiency, high total homocysteine levels and low vitamin B12 levels are associated with altered brain morphology, cognitive and/or psychological problems in school-aged children.

The research shows that prenatal maternal folate deficiency in early pregnancy has a long-lasting global effect on brain development in offspring.

The children from mothers with insufficiencies was associated with smaller total brain volume, poorer language and visual-spatial performance.

256 children between the ages 6 and 8 from whom structural brainscans where collected using MRI scans.

Both folate insufficiency in early pregnancy and homocysteine levels was associcated with poorer cognitive performance.



Prenatal folate, homocysteine and vitamin B12 levels and child brain volumes, cognitive development and psychological functionin, Ars et al., Br J Nutr. 2016 Jan 22:1-9