Tengsl háþrýstings og sykursýki móður á meðgöngu við náms- og taugaþroska barns: lýðgrunduð rannsókn - verkefni lokið

Fréttatilkynning verkefnisstjóra


This project focused maternal risk factors for hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and the potential effects hypertensive disorders (preeclampsia) on childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes. 

In total, we published four studies on these topics and one underway.

Based on nationwide data from Iceland our findings very broadly suggest that:

1.      Smoking during pregnancy decreased among Icelandic women in 2001–10, whereas an initial increase in obesity prevalence seemed to level off towards the end of the observation period. Both of these maternal risk factors reached their highest prevalence in 2005–06, which coincides with a flourishing period in the nation's economy.

2.      High BMI is an independent risk factor for hypertensive disorders during pregnancy; this increased risk appears more pronounced among smokers than non-smokers.

3.      The paradoxical inverse association between maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy and preeclampsia, demonstrated in many previous studies, might be a methodological artifact of: i. selection bias (likely caused by studying cases prevalent at birth rather than all incident cases from conception), ii. omitting important confounders associated with both smoking and preeclampsia (preventing the outcome to develop) and ii. controlling for a collider (gestation weeks at delivery).

4.      Maternal stress, defined as the 2008 economic collapse in Iceland, is assocated with a transient increase in gestational hypertension and use of beta-blockers in the first and most severe year of the economic recession.

5.      Children´s academic progress, defined as standardized tests in language arts and mathematics at ages 9, 12 and 15 years, is only minimally or not affected by maternal hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.

Hypertensive disorders are among the most common complications in pregnancy and are foreseen to rise as the prevalence of obesity and advanced maternal age increases in childrearing women. As such, our findings related to the interplay of risk factors for hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, including smoking, high BMI and stress, are of public importance for the prevention and care of pregnant women. Further, our findings may expand the still very limited evidence base of the implications of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy on childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as academic performance.

Several young scientists have received training within the framework of this project, including two graduated MPH students, one graduated PhD student, an international post-doctoral fellow. Additionally, this project and its data have formed a basis for a new PhD project in midwifery, now being conducted at the University of Iceland.

Heiti verkefnis: Tengsl háþrýstings og sykursýki móður á meðgöngu við náms- og taugaþroska barns: lýðgrunduð rannsókn

Verkefnisstjóri: Helga Zoéga, Háskóla Íslands
Tegund styrks: Rannsóknastöðustyrkur
Styrktímabil: 2013-2015
Fjárhæð styrks: 19,47 millj. kr. alls
Tilvísunarnúmer Rannís:  130814

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