Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Starving mothers and ageing brains

During the winter of 1944 German forces restricted food deliveries to the people of the northern Netherlands and by April 1945 it was estimated that 20,000 people had died from malnutrition. Scientists have been following babies who were conceived at this time in order to assess what effects malnutrition in pregnant mothers could have on children. They studied 300 people who were conceived in the 'Hongerwinter' and gave them a series of tests to measure their cognition. In the 1970s there were no differences between the Hongerwinter babies and other adults of the same age but more recent tests showed that their perfomance in tasks designed to measure attention was worse. Attention often declines with age so it could be that the brains of those people conceived during the Hongerwinter are ageing faster than those of other people.

You can find out more about this research by clicking on the link in the title of this post.

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