Intended for healthcare professionals


Birth weight, cognitive decline . . . and other stories

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 13 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3790

Fetal growth influences cognitive function in later life

Data from a long running twin registry in Sweden finds that being born with a small head for gestational age or with a low birth weight are risk factors for cognitive decline in old age (PLoS Med doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002609).

Compared with infants with normal growth and head size, they had a twofold risk increase even after controlling for familial factors, socioeconomic status, and education. Within-pair analyses of identical twins showed that the link between birth characteristics and dementia couldn’t be explained by genetics or shared environmental influences such as prenatal family …

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